Tour Jewish Venice with us, and discover a history as rich and varied as “The City of Canals” itself. The Jewish Ghetto of Venice, established in the early 16th century, was the birthplace of the word “ghetto” itself! The former ghetto area is now the center of contemporary Jewish life in Venice, and our tour brings you to the many sites of Venice Jewish heritage there. Of course, with so many fascinating things to do in Venice, we do not neglect Venice attractions like the Piazza San Marco, where we share insight into the role and position of the Jews in Venetian history.
In 1516 Jews in Venice were forced to live in a closed-door “ghetto” --one of the Venetian islands where there had been a foundry with slag or “ghèto” in Italian, hence the origin of the name.This origin ghetto exists intact today and is the center of Jewish life. The Scola Grande Tedesca and Scola Canton, both from the 16th century can still be visited today! Famous personalities included Rabbi Simone Luzzato, Rabbi Leon da Modena and poetess Sara Coppio Sullam, whose salon drew many educated men and aristocrats. When Napoleon marched into Venice in 1797 restrictions on Jewish residence were lifted. About 1,200 Jews were in Venice when German troops occupied the city in 1943. 205 people were deported to the extermination camps, including Chief Rabbi Adolfo Ottolenghi.
Our tour of Venice will begin at the world’s most famous square: Piazza San Marco. Decisions throughout history which affected Venetian Jews were made here. In front of the magnificent Doge’s Palace we will discuss the Venetian government’s attitudes towards the Papacy on the one hand and the Jewish community on the other. We will then take a Traghetto (a gondola ferry) across the Grand Canal to visit the three areas of the Ghetto (Ghetto Nuovo, Ghetto Vecchio and Ghetto Novissimo), retracing the history of the Jewish Community of Venice from the 15th century up to modern day. Your guide will tell you about today’s community of about 500 people, served by five synagogues, a Jewish bookstore, a Jewish publishing house, a social center, a rest home, a museum, a yeshiva and a kosher restaurant. If time allows, we will visit the small Jewish Museum there. Located in the Campo of the Ghetto Novo, it is situated between the two most ancient Venetian synagogues.
Venice is among our most popular cruise destinations. If you will arrive by ship, let us know, and we will arrange your transfer and arrival for an unforgettable Venice shore excursion!
[I would like to] write to thank you for arranging for our very informative and enjoyable day with our Venice guide. Her deep knowledge of both historical and contemporary Venice - in its Jewish and "non-Jewish" aspects - helped us to learn about the city in a way that would otherwise not have been possible. We had requested and of course loved the tour of the Jewish ghetto and synagogues, but found so much more through her skilled and energetic leadership ... At all times, she was generous, helpful, and personal in the best possible way. Given that we had only a limited amount of time in Venice, we felt that we saw a lot for a first visit, and look forward to a return someday to experience even more. Thanks ... for making this an outstanding, meaningful, and fun visit! I also want to thank M&H for detailed, prompt, and courteous service in planning our program, and especially for your outstanding assistance when the Istanbul portion of the Viking tour had to be cancelled. Your excellent "customer service" gives us complete confidence and great anticipation as we approach each of the trips we have planned with you.
As always, thank you for opening wonderful new worlds to us. More to come!