|Aerial photo of Monte Testaccio|
|Amphorae fountain on Testaccio's main street|
Today, nightclubs, shops and restaurants are carved into that verdant hill, and you'd never guess, while walking the surrounding tree-lined streets that you were circling the oldest rubbish heap in the world.
But, then, Italians are quite clever at making the best of things even though it may take centuries for them to have the last laugh. When Pope Paul IV forcibly moved 4,000 Italian Jews to the seven acres of low-lying ground, prone to flooding, near the Tiber River in 1555, what followed were three centuries of persecution. The ghetto gates were unlocked each morning and locked one hour after sunset each night; Jews leaving the ghetto were required to wear yellow ties or scarves, the same color prostitutes wore; and they were humiliated by the Catholic Romans at every turn. Nothing, of course, can compensate for the mistreatment the Jews endured, but it must be some small comfort that today, the Jewish Ghetto is one of the most charming neighborhoods in the entire city.
|Synagogue in Jewish Ghetto|
Pottery fragments are called testae in Latin which is the basis for the name Testaccio.