In 1798, mobs attempted to torch the Jewish ghetto of Rome, but rains put out the fire. The day was then designated as a holiday by Roman Jews. The Roman Ghetto had been in existence since 1555, when the Pope segregated the Jews in a walled quarter with three gates that were locked at night. The Jews were also subjected to various restrictions and degradations, including having to attend compulsory Catholic sermons on Shabbat. During Rome's annual carnival, scantily-clad Jews were forced to race along the main street, while the crowd mocked them, threw trash, and rained heavy blows. (The event often proved fatal.) Hygienic conditions inside the ghetto were terrible, and there was constant flooding from the nearby Tiber River. Outside the ghetto, Jews were required to wear identifying yellow clothing. When Napoleonic forces occupied Rome, the ghetto was legally abolished in 1808, and the city of Rome tore down the ghetto walls in 1888.
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