For a long time, Trastevere was the focal point of the Jewish community in Rome. Then in Medieval times, it gradually moved to the Rione Sant’Angelo, where the ghetto was later built.
The building situated at 14, Vicolo dell’Atleta is commonly identified as the site of the old medieval-era synagogue in the Trastevere area. The building has a brick façade with a wide twin-arch loggia, surmounted by a cornice with small arches resting on plinths. The column of the loggia bears an inscription in Hebrew characters with the name Nathan Chai. This might refer to the Rabbi Nathan ben Yechiel, who is thought to have had a ritual bath and a synagogue built in Trastevere in the late 11th and early 12th centuries. One of the best-known works by Rabbi Nathan ben Yechielis is his Sefer ‘Arukh (literally, the Ordered), a Talmudic dictionary of great importance within sacred literature.
Vicolo dell’Atleta, 14 – Rome