Kosherica’s Mediterranean Cruise aboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines Epic is a luxurious and unforgettable kosher travel experience. This tour takes you on a breathtaking journey through some of the most high-culture-filled destinations in the Mediterranean. The 9-night cruise embarks from Rome, Italy, on June 27th and sails to some of Europe’s most desired and beautiful ports before returning to Rome. Here’s an overview of the itinerary:
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
– Your adventure begins in the historic city of Rome, where you will board the Norwegian Epic in the nearby port of Civitavecchia. Before setting sail, explore Rome’s iconic sights, such as the Colosseum, Vatican City, and the Trevi Fountain.
Rome, the Eternal City, is famously known as home to ancient Roman ruins and Renaissance masterpieces. Yet, anyone interested in our heritage will find that it also boasts a rich Jewish history that spans over two millennia. As one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, Rome offers numerous fascinating sites that showcase Jewish culture, history, and rich heritage. The following are some of the most intriguing Jewish sites in Rome, Italy, that you should not miss during your visit. There are many more places to discover, but the following two are a ‘must.’
A.The Great Synagogue of Rome (Tempio Maggiore di Roma)
In the heart of Rome’s Jewish Ghetto, you’ll find the Great Synagogue; it’s an architectural gem and a symbol of the enduring Jewish presence in the city. The magical building (open since 1904) derives its eclectic design features elements from Assyrian-Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greco-Roman styles. The museum inside the synagogue showcases a collection of Jewish artifacts and documents, telling the story of Rome’s Jewish community throughout the ages.
B. The Jewish Ghetto. Established in 1555, the Roman Jewish Ghetto is one of Europe’s oldest and most significant Jewish quarters. Wander through its narrow cobblestone streets, and discover the area’s rich history, traditional Jewish shops, and kosher restaurants. Look out for the wall plaques commemorating the Ghetto’s most notable points.
The first port of call is Naples, a vibrant city rich in history and culture. Explore the ancient ruins of Pompeii, or take a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast. Naples, Italy, has a rich Jewish history that dates back to Roman times. Although the Jewish community in Naples has diminished over the centuries, you’ll find several Jewish heritage sites throughout the city. Some notable places to visit in Naples:
A. Synagogue (Sinagoga di Napoli): Located in Palazzo Sessa, this modern synagogue serves as a spiritual center for the local Jewish community. It was established in 2002, replacing the 19th-century synagogue destroyed during World War II.
B. Jewish Catacombs of Naples: Discovered in the 19th century, these ancient catacombs date back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. They are located beneath the Sanità district and contain Jewish tombs, inscriptions, and frescoes. Visits to the catacombs are only possible by appointment.
C. Giudecca (Jewish Ghetto): Established in the 16th century, the Giudecca was the Jewish quarter of Naples. The area, located in the city’s heart, is characterized by narrow streets and tall buildings. Although the original synagogues no longer exist, the streets’ layout still reflects the historical presence of the Jewish community.
D. Palazzo Cellammare: This historic building was once the residence of the Prince of Cellammare. It is known for connecting to the famous Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Zacuto, who lived there in the 17th century. The building is not open to the public, but you can admire its façade from the outside.
E. Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte:
This museum houses a significant collection of Jewish artifacts, including Torah scrolls, Hanukkah lamps, and other ceremonial objects.
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Next, the ship arrives at Palma de Mallorca, the stunning capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands. With its beautiful beaches and historic landmarks, this island paradise is perfect for relaxation and a brief exploration.
This stop is on Shabbat, but you may walk some of the idyllic islands of Ibiza, with its picturesque beaches. Ibiza’s charming old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is also within walking distance. If you stay aboard, soak up the sun on deck or balcony and gaze at the island’s pristine shores from the port.
Visit the glamorous city of Cannes, nestled along the sparkling French Riviera. Discover the luxurious boutiques, enjoy the picturesque views of the azure Mediterranean Sea, and explore the historic district of Le Suquet.
Barcelona is a beautiful city with rich history, culture, and a significant Jewish community. For exploring the city’s Jewish heritage, here are some places and activities you might consider:
A. El Call: This is the Jewish Quarter of Barcelona, located in the Gothic Quarter. You can take a walking tour of the area to learn about its history, including its role as a center of Jewish life in the Middle Ages. You can also visit the Jewish Museum of Barcelona, which is located in El Call and has exhibits on Jewish history and culture in Catalonia.
B.Synagogues: There are two active synagogues in Barcelona that you can visit: the Sinagoga Major de Barcelona, which dates back to the 13th century and is one of the oldest synagogues in Europe, and the Atid Synagogue, which was founded in 2011 to serve the city’s growing Jewish community.Kosher food: There are several kosher restaurants and markets in Barcelona where you can sample traditional Jewish Italian cuisine. Some popular options include the kosher restaurant Shalom Barcelona, the kosher bakery Hofmann La Seca, and the kosher supermarket La Bodega. Jewish heritage tours: you can book ahead with several tour companies in Barcelona (info can be found online or by contacting Kosherica for details). The shore excursions are flexible to fit your interests. These can take you to important Jewish sites in and around the city and provide insight into Jewish history and culture in the region.
Festivals and events:
Barcelona has several Jewish festivals and events throughout the year, including the Barcelona Jewish Film Festival, which showcases Jewish-themed films from around the world, and the Barcelona International Jewish Music Festival, which features concerts and performances by Jewish musicians.
Overall, there are many ways to explore Barcelona’s Jewish history and culture while enjoying kosher food and other Jewish interests. Whether you’re interested in visiting historical sites, trying traditional Jewish cuisine, or attending cultural events, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.
The final stop before returning to Rome is the magnificent region of Tuscany, home to the beautiful cities of Florence and Pisa.
Both of these cities have rich histories and various cultural sites.
Jewish interest sites include:
The Great Synagogue of Florence (Tempio Maggiore): This impressive Moorish-style synagogue was built in the late 19th century and featured a museum documenting the history of the Jewish community in Florence.
Jewish Museum of Florence (Museo Ebraico): Located within the Great Synagogue, the museum offers a glimpse into the history and culture of the Jewish community in the city.
Jewish Cemetery (Cimitero Ebraico): This historic cemetery contains graves dating back to the early 19th century, providing a window into the lives of past Jewish residents.
As far as some of Europe’s most significant cultural sites, Florence is an awe-inspiring delight. I’ll mention the most unforgettable ones:
A. Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi): A world-renowned art museum housing works by famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli.
B. Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore): this interesting architectural gothic cathedral is known for its iconic dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.
C. Accademia Gallery (Galleria dell’Accademia): Home to Michelangelo’s famous statue of David. Marvel at the stunning Duomo and cross the historic Ponte Vecchio.
Snap a photo with the iconic Leaning Tower in Pisa and explore the picturesque Piazza dei Miracoli. For a Jewish experience in Pizza, visit the Pisa Synagogue (Sinagoga di Pisa): This small but beautiful synagogue, built in the 18th century, is still active and open for visitors. It also contains a small Jewish museum showcasing local Jewish history.
Onboard you’ll find the ultimate delight, where ‘Luxury Meets Kosher’:
Kosherica is renowned for its dedication to providing outstanding kosher travel experiences. Onboard the NCL Epic; you’ll savor delicious, freshly-prepared Glatt Kosher meals, including lavish buffets and elegant multi-course dinners. Dine in style while enjoying spectacular ocean views, and rest assured, knowing that every detail of your culinary experience adheres to the highest kosher standards.