Liepa Valiulytė

Exploring Stumbling Stones of Rome

Embark on a poignant journey through Rome's Centro Storico, discovering the Stumbling Stones memorials.

Centro Storico Attraction
Stumbling Stones memorials in Rome


Rome is a city rich in history, culture, and art. But among its many attractions, there is one that is often overlooked: the Stumbling Stones of Rome. These are small brass plaques embedded in the pavement, commemorating the victims of the Nazi persecution during World War II. Each plaque bears the name, date of birth, and fate of a person who lived or worked in that location, and who was deported, killed, or fled. The Stumbling Stones are a way of honoring the memory of these individuals, and of reminding us of the horrors of fascism and racism. In this article, we will explore some of the most interesting and poignant Stumbling Stones of Rome, and learn about their stories and significance.

Setting Expectations: Downsides and Time Considerations

The Stumbling Stones are not a typical tourist attraction. They are not marked on maps, nor advertised by signs. They are often hidden by cars, bikes, or trash. They require a keen eye and a curious mind to spot them. They are also not easy to read, as they are written in Italian or German, and sometimes faded or damaged. Moreover, they are not meant to be cheerful or entertaining. They are a sobering reminder of the tragic fate of many innocent people, and of the dark side of human history. Therefore, visiting the Stumbling Stones may not be suitable for everyone, especially for those who are sensitive or emotional. It may also take a lot of time and effort to find them, as they are scattered throughout the city. However, if you are interested in learning more about the history and culture of Rome, and in paying tribute to its forgotten heroes, the Stumbling Stones can be a rewarding and meaningful experience.

Tips for your visit of the Stumbling Stones of Rome

  • Download a map or an app To find the Stumbling Stones, you will need some guidance. You can download a map from the official website of the project (, or use an app like Stolpersteine Guide or Roma Stolpersteine, which will show you the locations and information of the plaques.
  • Plan your itinerary There are more than 300 Stumbling Stones in Rome, so you will not be able to see them all in one day. You can choose to focus on a specific area, such as the Jewish Ghetto or Trastevere, or follow a thematic route, such as the Resistance Fighters or the Children. You can also combine your visit with other attractions nearby, such as museums, churches, or monuments.

Additional tips or recommendations for visitors:

  • Bring a small brush or cloth to clean the plaques if they are dirty or dusty.
  • Be respectful and discreet when looking at the plaques. Do not block the entrance of buildings or disturb the residents.
  • Take some time to reflect on the stories and messages behind each plaque. You can also leave a flower or a candle as a sign of respect.

Practical Information

Opening Hours: The Stumbling Stones are accessible at any time of the day.

How to Get There: The Stumbling Stones are located all over Rome, so you can reach them by walking, biking, or using public transportation. You can use Google Maps or other apps to find the nearest bus stop or metro station.

Price: Visiting the Stumbling Stones is free of charge.

Crowds: The Stumbling Stones are not very crowded, as they are not well-known by tourists or locals. However, some areas may be busier than others, especially during peak hours.

Weather Considerations: The Stumbling Stones can be visited in any weather condition, but they may be more visible and enjoyable in sunny days.

Photography: You can take photos of the Stumbling Stones, but please be respectful and do not use flash or selfie sticks.

Accessibility: The Stumbling Stones are accessible to everyone, as they are on the ground level. However, some pavements may be uneven or narrow, so be careful when walking or using a wheelchair.

Facilities: There are no facilities specifically related to the Stumbling Stones, but you can find cafes, restaurants, shops, and restrooms nearby.

Tours: There are no official tours of the Stumbling Stones, but you can join some guided walks or bike tours that include them in their itinerary. You can also book a private tour with a local guide who can tell you more about the history and stories of the plaques.

Bringing Children: You can bring children to visit the Stumbling Stones, but be prepared to explain to them the meaning and context of the plaques. You can also use some books or games to make the visit more engaging and educational for them.

Bringing Pets: You can bring pets to visit the Stumbling Stones, but please keep them on a leash and do not let them damage or soil the plaques.

These details are subject to change; please check the official website for the latest information

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are stumbling stones?

    Stumbling stones are small brass plaques embedded in the pavement that commemorate the victims of Nazi persecution. They are also known as Stolpersteine, which means "stumbling stones" in German.

  • Why are they called stumbling stones?

    They are called stumbling stones because they are meant to make people stop and reflect on the lives and fates of those who were deported, killed, or forced into exile by the Nazis. They are also a way of restoring the names and dignity of the victims, who were often erased from official records and public memory.

  • How many stumbling stones are there in Rome?

    There are currently more than 300 stumbling stones in Rome, and more are being added every year. They are located in front of the former homes or workplaces of the victims, and they bear their names, dates of birth, deportation, and death.

  • How can I find stumbling stones in Rome?

    There are several online maps and guides that show the locations and details of the stumbling stones in Rome. You can also join guided tours or walks that explore the history and stories behind the plaques. Some of the most popular tours are organized by the Association for the Memory of the Shoah in Rome (AMSR) and the Jewish Community of Rome (JCR).

Must see

  • Piazza Mattei

    This square in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto is home to one of the most touching stumbling stones in Rome. It commemorates Settimia Spizzichino, the only survivor of a group of 20 Jewish women who were rounded up by the Nazis on October 16, 1943 and sent to Auschwitz. She died in 2000 and her plaque reads: "Here lived Settimia Spizzichino born on 17.4.1908 deported on 16.10.1943 Auschwitz survivor died on 25.10.2000". The square also features a beautiful fountain with turtles sculpted by Bernini.

  • Via Urbana

    This street in the Monti district has one of the highest concentrations of stumbling stones in Rome, with more than 20 plaques along its length. They honor the memory of various Jewish families who lived here before being deported to Auschwitz, as well as political opponents and resistance fighters who were killed by the Nazis or the Fascists. One of them is Giorgio Bassani, a famous Italian writer and poet who was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo in 1943.

  • Via Rasella

    This narrow street near Piazza Barberini was the scene of one of the most dramatic events of the Nazi occupation of Rome. On March 23, 1944, a group of partisans detonated a bomb that killed 33 German soldiers who were marching along the street. In retaliation, the Nazis executed 335 Italian civilians at the Ardeatine Caves the next day. The street is marked by several plaques that recall the attack and its consequences, as well as a memorial fountain that symbolizes the bloodshed.

  • Via della Lungara

    This street in Trastevere leads to Villa Farnesina, a Renaissance palace famous for its frescoes by Raphael. Along the way, you can find several stumbling stones that remember some of the most prominent figures of Italian culture who were persecuted by the Nazis. Among them are Carlo Levi, a writer and painter who was exiled for his anti-Fascist views; Margherita Sarfatti, a journalist and art critic who was Mussolini's lover and biographer; and Aldo Fabrizi, a comedian and actor who helped many Jews escape from deportation.

If you want to learn more about the history and significance of the stumbling stones in Rome, you can visit the website or follow their Facebook page. You can also support their project by making a donation or sponsoring a plaque for a victim.

Lesser known stories and Interesting Facts

  • The origin of the Stumbling Stones

    The Stumbling Stones, or Stolpersteine in German, are small brass plaques embedded in the pavement that commemorate the victims of Nazi persecution. They are called Stumbling Stones because they are meant to make people stumble upon the memory of those who were deported, killed, or forced into exile by the Nazi regime.

  • The first Stumbling Stone in Rome

    The first Stumbling Stone in Rome was installed in 2010 by the German artist Gunter Demnig, who initiated the project in 1992. The stone was dedicated to Lidia Rolfi, a Jewish woman who was arrested in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz. She survived the camp and returned to Italy, where she became a writer and a teacher.

  • The most recent Stumbling Stone in Rome

    The most recent Stumbling Stone in Rome was installed in 2021, in front of the house where Giorgio Bassani, a Jewish writer and poet, lived. Bassani was the author of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, a novel that depicts the life of a wealthy Jewish family in Ferrara during the Fascist era. The novel was adapted into a film that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1972.

  • The controversy over the Stumbling Stones

    The Stumbling Stones have not been welcomed by everyone. Some critics argue that they are disrespectful to the victims, who deserve more dignified monuments. Others claim that they are an invasion of private property, since they are installed without the consent of the owners or tenants of the buildings. Some even accuse them of being a form of German propaganda or apology.

  • The significance of the Stumbling Stones

    The Stumbling Stones are not only a way of remembering the past, but also a way of confronting the present. They remind us that history is not something abstract or distant, but something that happened to real people who lived in our streets and neighborhoods. They also challenge us to reflect on our own responsibility and role in fighting against discrimination, intolerance, and injustice.

Historical Background

Rome was home to one of the oldest and largest Jewish communities in Europe, dating back to the second century BCE. The Jews of Rome enjoyed relative freedom and protection until the rise of Fascism and Nazism in the 20th century. In 1938, Italy enacted racial laws that discriminated against Jews and other minorities, stripping them of their civil rights and economic opportunities. In 1943, after Italy surrendered to the Allies and Germany occupied Rome, the Nazis began to round up and deport Jews to concentration camps. On October 16, 1943, more than 1,000 Jews were arrested in a raid in the Jewish ghetto and sent to Auschwitz. Only 16 of them survived.

After the liberation of Rome in 1944, the Jewish community tried to rebuild itself from the ashes of the Holocaust. Many Jews returned from hiding or exile, while others immigrated from other countries. The community also engaged in cultural and social activities, such as publishing books and newspapers, organizing festivals and exhibitions, and supporting charitable causes. Today, there are about 15,000 Jews living in Rome, who contribute to the diversity and richness of the city's life.

Nearby Restaurants

  • Ba'Ghetto Milky A kosher dairy restaurant that serves pizza, pasta, salads, and desserts. Try their ricotta cheesecake or their artichoke pizza.
  • Nonna Betta A traditional Roman-Jewish restaurant that specializes in fried dishes, such as artichokes, zucchini flowers, codfish, and anchovies. Don't miss their carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style artichokes) or their concia (marinated zucchini).
  • Piperno A historic restaurant that dates back to 1860. It offers refined Roman cuisine with a touch of Jewish influence. Sample their fettuccine with truffles or their lamb chops with mint sauce.

Nearby Attractions

  • The Great Synagogue of Rome The main place of worship and the symbol of the Jewish community. It was built in 1904 in an eclectic style that combines Roman, Byzantine, and Art Nouveau elements. It houses a museum that displays artifacts and documents related to the history and culture of Roman Jews.
  • The Jewish Museum of Rome A museum that showcases the artistic, religious, and historical heritage of the Jewish community. It exhibits objects such as Torah scrolls, silverware, textiles, paintings, and photographs. It also organizes guided tours of the Jewish ghetto and the synagogue.
  • The Portico d'Ottavia A monumental portico that was built by Emperor Augustus in honor of his sister Octavia. It was part of a complex that included a temple, a library, and a theater. It later became part of the Jewish ghetto and was used as a fish market. It is now a site of archaeological interest and a cultural venue.


The Stumbling Stones of Rome are more than just plaques on the ground. They are a way of honoring the memory and the dignity of those who suffered under Nazi persecution. They are also a way of learning about the history and the culture of the Jewish community in Rome, which has been an integral part of the city for over two millennia. They are also a way of raising awareness and promoting dialogue about the values of human rights, democracy, and peace. If you visit Rome, don't forget to look down and stumble upon these stones. You might discover something new and meaningful.