This walking tour, mostly based on the history of the Jews in Venice will bring you to the three most important places related to their history in the lagoon city. It is also a great introduction tour to Venice in itself as the locations are closely intertwined with the city’s history and its present life.

We’ll start the tour in San Marco square, is here that the main gov’t bodies ruling the life of the Jews, housed in the Ducal Palace stood. We’ll talk then about the relationship between the Jews and the Venetian State. Several offices oversaw and regulated the life of all Jews residing in Venice the most important were the Council of Ten and the Venetian Senate. Its ruling of March 29th 1516 ordered the creation of the first Ghetto in Europe.

As we admire the library in St. Mark’s square we’ll also talk about the importance of Venice as a leading European town in the publishing of Jewish books and its preeminence in printing in the 16th century.

We’ll continue the tour reaching the Rialto market area, right now a place where to buy fish and vegetables but until the 16th century it was the main distribution center of oriental goods in Europe. This place will be ideal to talk about the pivot role played by Sephardic Jews of diverse provenance in keeping Rialto still an important trade center after its hey-days. And we’ll also mention Shylock the most famous fictional Jew in theater.

We’ll finally reach the Ghetto itself where the Jews were obliged to reside no matter their status or provenance from 1516 until 1797. In the beginning they were Ashkenazi and Italians all involved in moneylending on pawns but later on in the 16th century, as there was no more room in the first Ghetto two more were open to host Sephardic Jews coming from the Ottoman Empire and from the Iberian peninsula.

We’ll spend time walking through the three ghettos and explain you how the area was started at first, its development, the activities led there and the main facts related to the history of the Jews in Venice from the early days to present time.

After this tour will be over you can join the tour of the synagogues organized by the Venetian Jewish community so you’ll be able to visit the temples inside and the museum too.

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