Rich 'are driving the Jews from 16th century ghetto' in Rome

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JEWISH residents are being “expelled” from the second oldest Jewish ghetto in Europe by wealthy VIPs buying up property, according to Italian Jewish leaders.

Riccardo Pacifici, the deputy head of the Jewish community association in Rome, said that flats in the ghetto area were being snapped up at low prices by figures from show business, politics and finance. “The effect is that our poorest elderly Jewish residents are being expelled from places they have lived all their lives,” he said.

The former Jewish ghetto on the banks of the Tiber in central Rome dates from 1555, during the Inquisition, when Pope Paul IV decreed that all Jews must live in a confined area. It was abolished after the unification of Italy in 1870. But many Italian Jews chose to remain in the area. Today the quarter is noted for its kosher butchers and bakers, its Jewish school and its restaurants, which serve delicacies such as fried cod (baccalà) and fried artichokes (carciofi alla giudia). The ghetto remains a picturesque area of cobbled alleyways.

As property prices in the Italian capital soar, the ghetto has become “gentrified”. Prominent residents include Lucia Annunziata, the former head of Rai, the Italian state broadcasting network, the actor Luca Barbareschi and the TV variety show presenter Mara Venier.

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