1/2 DAY TOUR
Visiting the Venice Jewish Ghetto will indeed prove to be a very interesting experience, as it still is the focal point of Jewish life in Venice, with two operating synagogues, a Jewish library, a day school, kosher food shops, and a Jewish bakery.
Your walk will take you to St Mark's Square, where all main political decisions about the Jews and the other foreign communities were taken. The original core of Ashkenazim arrived here in the 16th century from Germany and were later joined by Sephardim from Spain and Portugal. The government of Venice gave them permission to settle permanently on a tiny island of the Lagoon, which they could only leave only to go work and only during the day. They were also banned from any type of trade except money lending.
It is interesting to note that the world 'ghetto', comes from the Venetian 'geto', a dialect word used for foundry. As the city's foundry had previously been located in that part of town, Venetians began referring to the Jewish neighborhood using that particular word.
You will also visit the Rialto market area, for many centuries a world-wide important seat of banking and mercantile transactions. After having crossed the Grand Canal on a "traghetto" (i.e. a gondola ferry) you'll visit the three areas of the Ghetto (Ghetto Nuovo, Ghetto Vecchio and Ghetto Novissimo). If there is enough time, it will be possible to visit the Jewish Museum located here.
At this point your private tour will be over. If you wish, you can then join one of the group tours departing every hour from the Jewish Museum and including a visit to three out of five synagogues. Before leaving, your guide will provide you with all necessary instructions about how to go back to central Venice on foot or by boat.