Venice Ghetto’s 500th birthday. The story of the first closed enclave

Campo di Ghetto Nuovo, Venice
Campo di Ghetto Nuovo, Venice Photo

The world ghetto was born in Venice in 13th century. When all the Jews, persecuted in Europe, settled in Venice. In March 1516 the Doge forced them to live in an area called ghetto, whose doors were closed during the night. The word ghetto (meaning enclave or enclosed area) comes from a foundry established in the area (and from the verb gettare, pour the metal or, literally, throw). In 1797 Napoleon allowed the Jews to live wherever they like, but many of them remained there. Now only a handful of Jews (450 people, more or less) remain in the area, but the ghetto is still one of the most fascinating areas in Venice, where you could see visit the old synagogues and taste Jewish food at the local restaurant Gam Gam.

On 29 March the Venice Ghetto will celebrate its 500th birthday. On the occasion there will be an exhibition called ‘Venice, the Jews and Europe’ and ‘The Merchant of Venice’ by Shakespeare will be performed in the main square of the ghetto.
And if you do not coincide with any of the events, al least visit the Museo Ebraico


The map of Venice ghetto



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