Venetian Ghetto

Venice, Italy

The Venetian Ghetto was the area of Venice in which Jews were compelled to live under the Venetian Republic. The English word 'ghetto' is derived from the Jewish ghetto in Venice, originating from the Venetian ghèto and Italian ghetto.

The Venetian Ghetto was instituted on 29 March 1516, though political restrictions on Jewish rights and residences existed before that date. In 1797 the French army of Italy, commanded by the 28-year-old General Napoleon Bonaparte, conquered Venice, dissolved the Venetian republic, and ended the ghetto's separation from the city. In the 19th century, the ghetto was renamed the Contrada dell'unione.

The Ghetto is an area of the Cannaregio sestiere of Venice, divided into the Ghetto Nuovo ('New Ghetto'), and the adjacent Ghetto Vecchio ('Old Ghetto'). These names of the ghetto sections are misleading, as they refer to an older and newer site at the time of their use by the foundries: in terms of Jewish residence, the Ghetto Nuovo is actually older than the Ghetto Vecchio.

Today, the Ghetto is still a center of Jewish life in the city. The Jewish Community of Venice. There is also a yeshiva, several Judaica shops, and a Chabad synagogue run by Chabad of Venice. Although only few of the roughly 500 Venetian Jews still live in the Ghetto, many return there during the day for religious services in the two synagogues which are still used (the other three are only used for guided tours, offered by the Jewish Community Museum).



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Calesele 2910, Venice, Italy
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Founded: 1516
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Nick Martlew (13 months ago)
A rich and interesting history that I otherwise would have missed entirely. The guide was informative, if not especially dynamic, and we got to visit both synagogues, which was quite special.
Isaac (2 years ago)
The museum is temporary closed for renovation, but the synagogue tour is still ON.
Ines De Freitas (4 years ago)
Venice is an unique place to find the prints of jewish italian life. If you go to the Gheto Vechio, you will see the carving of mezuzahs at the doors, kosher restaurants, bakeries, judaica stores and the Jewish museum with its three synagogues (one of them still functioning today) you’ll tour trough Venice’s jewish life and connect to it. In the museum they offer guided tours in english and italian. If you want a deeper conection to judaism in europe, do not hesitate.
Mike Hudack (4 years ago)
The history here is important - venice is the site of the original ghetto. It's literally where the word came from.
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