map

Venetian Ghetto

icon-location-red

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Cannaregio, 30121 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

EUR 10

Find it on google maps

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)
expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Visit the Venetian Ghetto late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and experience the serene atmosphere as the sun casts golden hues on the historic buildings. Don't miss out on the opportunity to try some traditional Jewish Venetian cuisine at one of the local kosher restaurants tucked away in the quieter alleyways."

What is Venetian Ghetto?

Imagine wandering through the intricate network of Venice's canals and alleyways until you come across a part of the city steeped in a unique history; that's the Venetian Ghetto for you. It's an area of the Cannaregio sestiere of Venice, which holds the distinction of being the world’s first ghetto. Established in 1516, it was an area where Jews were compelled to live by the government of the Venetian Republic. Today, it’s a serene and atmospheric neighborhood, layered with centuries of history and culture.

With its tall, imposing buildings and five historic synagogues – some of the world’s oldest – the Venetian Ghetto is a place of deep historical significance and a testament to the resilience of its inhabitants. This secluded area still retains its original name, Ghetto, which is derived from the Venetian word "geto", meaning foundry, reflective of the area's industrial past before its transformation. The history juxtaposed with the tranquil, authentic Venetian atmosphere makes the Ghetto a truly captivating place to visit.

Our Most Popular Tour:

All-Inclusive
Galle Instagram Tour: The Most Famous Spots

A vacation in Sri Lanka wouldn't be complete without visiting Galle! This charming city is packed with history, culture & stunning beaches and the best ...

US$89/pp Learn more

History of Venetian Ghetto

The history of the Venetian Ghetto is both poignant and profound. It was instituted on March 29, 1516, when the government of Venice designated a small, isolated island with two gates that were locked at night, as the only place Jews were allowed to live. The Jews of Venice were enclosed here for nearly three centuries. In fact, the Venetian Ghetto was the first place where the term "ghetto" was applied to a Jewish quarter, becoming the model for ghettos all over Europe.

The size of the population in the Venetian Ghetto grew over the years, even though the area of the Ghetto did not expand. This led to buildings being extended upwards, resulting in the unusual height of the structures here, which are among the tallest in Venice. Even as the Ghetto was a place of segregation and restriction, it was also a melting pot of Jewish culture, with Jews from various parts of Europe and the Mediterranean bringing their languages, traditions, and customs, creating a diverse and rich community.

Since the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 and the subsequent lifting of the Ghetto's gates by Napoleon's troops, the Jewish community of Venice has remained, although in smaller numbers. The Ghetto continues to be an active center for Jewish life in Venice, with synagogues, a museum, and cultural activities throughout the year. Its history is a testament to how its inhabitants have thrived, maintaining a strong and vibrant culture against all challenges.

Why is Venetian Ghetto Important?

The Venetian Ghetto is important for multiple reasons, not least for its place in Jewish history as the progenitor of all European ghettos. It serves as a potent reminder of the segregation and oppression faced by Jews throughout history, particularly during the era of the Venetian Republic. The resilience and perseverance of the Jewish community here offer a powerful narrative of survival and cultural identity in challenging circumstances.

Moreover, the Ghetto’s synagogues are a remarkable aspect – these are not just places of worship but also symbols of the various ethnic communities that made up the Ghetto’s population. They represent the Italian, German, Spanish, and Levantine Jewish communities, each with its own rites and traditions. These synagogues are extraordinary relics of a bygone world, quietly nestled away on the top floors of the Ghetto's buildings as if they are guarding centuries-old secrets.

In more contemporary terms, the Venetian Ghetto is a cultural and educational resource, capturing the attention of historians, artists, scholars, and visitors from around the globe. Its history prompts important conversations about diversity, tolerance, and the human spirit. When you walk through the Ghetto's quiet squares or campos, you're not just passing through a physical space; you're touching the echoes of history that reverberate through the cobblestones under your feet.

Our Top Trending Indonesia Tours:

  • All-Inclusive

    Bali Bird Park & Monkey Forest Tour

    US$114/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Bali Water Sports Adventure & Water Blow Visit

    US$114/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Bali Ultimate Monkey Forest Tour

    US$114/pp Learn more

Things to Do & See at Venetian Ghetto

When you visit the Venetian Ghetto, you'll find a range of things to see and do that bring its history to life. Start off by exploring the streets themselves. They are quieter and less visited than other parts of Venice, offering a more contemplative experience of the city. Notice the Hebrew signs and plaques that tell stories of the area's past inhabitants and institutions. One must-see is the Jewish Museum of Venice, which provides a deep dive into the history of the Ghetto and the Venetian Jewish community.

The heart of the Venetian Ghetto experience, however, lies in its five storied synagogues, known as the Scola Grande Tedesca, Scola Canton, Scola Italiana, Scola Levantina, and Scola Spagnola. These synagogues offer guided tours that are breathtaking excursions into a historical religious life, each synagogue ornate and rich in history. Here, I always tell visitors to simply look up: the unique Italian and Byzantine influenced architecture, coupled with the history that seeps from the walls, is an experience in itself.

And while here, it's essential to take a moment to reflect at the Holocaust memorials located in the Ghetto. The most notable is the striking Holocaust Memorial by sculptor Arbit Blatas, a series of bronze reliefs depicting the persecution of the Jews, situated at the Ghetto Vecchio. Cultural events, especially during the Venetian Ghetto's annual commemoration, also offer an intimate perspective on the Ghetto’s living history. Lastly, intimate bookshops, kosher restaurants, and local shops give a taste of the present-day Jewish community, providing a full-circle experience of this unique and enduring neighborhood.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Venetian Ghetto?

The Venetian Ghetto was the area of Venice where Jews were compelled to live by the government of the Venetian Republic. The Ghetto is now an important historical site and a center for Jewish life in Venice.

Where is the Venetian Ghetto located in Venice?

The Venetian Ghetto is located in the Cannaregio sestiere (district) of Venice, which is in the northern part of the city.

What can visitors see in the Venetian Ghetto?

Visitors to the Venetian Ghetto can explore the historical synagogues, the Jewish Museum, and the cultural displays that reflect the history and heritage of the Jewish community in Venice.

Why is the Venetian Ghetto significant?

The Venetian Ghetto is significant as it was one of the first ghettos in Europe, established in 1516, and it became a model for other ghettos around the world. It represents a critical part of Jewish history and the broader history of the Renaissance and segregation policies.

Are there guided tours available in the Venetian Ghetto?

Yes, there are guided tours available that offer insights into the history of the area, the life of the Jewish community, and visits to synagogues and historical sites within the Ghetto.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Cannaregio, 30121 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

EUR 10

Find it on google maps