Tempietto del Carmelo: the Little Temple in the Jewish Ghetto

Standing in heart of the Roman Jewish Ghetto in Piazza Costaguti there’s a Little Temple called Tempietto del Carmelo. The charming construction was built in 1759 by a local family to protect an image of Santa Maria del Carmine and merges with the House of Lorenzo Manilio. The construction underwent severe deterioration to the point that only a few knew it was a temple. Just think about the fact that in late 19th Century the space was occupied by a couple who had moved their workshop there. Also, the key of the temple was lost for a really long time.
It was only in 2004 that renovation works started on the Tempietto del Carmelo, bringing back the construction to its ancient charming splendor. The bill for the works amounted to 97.000 euros and eded in 2005.

Credits: image by @Roma_Wonder
Location: Piazza Costaguti 00186 Rome, in Jewish Ghetto Area
Tickets: Not Needed
Accessibility: Accessible

Tempietto del Carmelo in Ancient Times

In 1572 Pope Gregory XII stated that every Saturday adult Jews had to take part to the so-called prediche coatte, compulsory Catholic sermons to convince the Jews to convert to Christianity. These sermons were held in front of this little temple. According to tradition, Jews put wax into their ears to shield themselves from the words. Some of them fell asleep and were severely beaten by the Pope’s guards.

Moreover, we know as matter of fact that since 1513 the Jewish Community had donated to the new elected Pope a copy of the Bible as a symbolical gesture. However, sometimes between the Pope and the Rabbi there was a sincere relationship of friendship and respect. As a proof of this, there’s a poetry by Belli about the friendship between the Rabbit and Pope Gregory XVI

The Death of the Rabbi
He went today, the Rabbi did, to heaven
Now, that’d be something like bishop of the Ghetto,
and this evening, at the Synagogue they read
prayers for the dead and in the morning again
A friend of the Pope was he, and if you want to know
On the first day the Pope, he was elected
He took pen in hand, and a sonnet he perfected
Half in hebrew it was wrote, but half in latin though.
And now upon his death, our lord
Creid tears that drenched his cheeks, though king he be,
that they thought he would lose his heart for sure
but if he’d lived some more, let me tell you
we’d have either a Christian Rabbi seen,
ore else the Pope, he’d have become a Jew.

Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791-1863)