Venetian Ghetto

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Venice’s Ghetto

Venice - Ghetto - Levantine Synagogue
Venice - Ghetto - Jewish CommunityVenice - Ghetto - German SynagogueVenice -  Ghetto - Ponte de Gheto NovoVenice - Cannaregio - Ponte delle GuglieVenice - Cannaregio - PescariaVenice - Cannaregio - Canal

The Venetian Ghetto was officially created in 1516, it was the first one in Europe. All the Jews of the city were forced to move inside its perimeter, its doors where shut down between sunset and sunrise and watched by guards.

It is believed that the world Ghetto comes from the Venetian Gheto that means literally slag, it was used because in the same island where the Jews were confined there was a foundry where slag was stored.

The Ghetto is part of the Cannareggio sestriere (area) and it is divided in two zones: The Ghetto Nuovo (New Ghetto) and the Ghetto Vecchio (Old Ghetto). Actually the Old and New titles referred to the foundries located there before, while speaking about Jewish houses it was exactly the opposite: the Ghetto Nuovo is older than the Ghetto Vecchio!

Due to Venice history the Jewish community wasn’t very compact. Jewish from all over the world were living in the Serenissima Republic; the main groups were Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese and Levantine Sephardi. There were 5 different synagogues, one for each group and the fifth one was privately built by four rich families. Many languages were spoken, the Hebrew was used for official purposes.

Only at the end of the 18th century when Napoleon’s troops conquered Italy the ghetto and its limitations were suppressed.

The Venice’s Jewish Community is still active and counts on more than 500 members. Although many Jews don’t live anymore in the area they come back for the religious celebrations or to enjoy the different services offered by the community. The synagogues in fact are not limited to the religious ceremonies but they are a fundamental part of the social life of the community. It is possible to take courses like Modern Hebrew, lessons on the sacred texts, or take advantage of facilities like a kindergarten, retirement home, guest house, a kosher restaurant and a bakery.

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Every year the community hosts a Hebrew’s Studies conference internationally well-known.

The Venetian Ghetto is one of the less touristic area of the city. Strolling around its narrow streets is a unique experience. The Ghetto was always overcrowded so the buildings are taller compared to the other sestrieri. Also the synagogues are very particular and not only because they were strongly influenced by the Venetian art. During the renaissance the law forbade to build separate synagogues so in order to obey the Jewish law that doesn’t allow to have any obstructions between them and the heavens they were built on top of other buildings!

Cannaregio – Venice

Venice - Cannaregio - Canal
Venice - Cannaregio - ViewVenice - Cannaregio - Ponte delle GuglieVenice - Cannaregio - Pescaria

Cannaregio is one of the six Venice’s oldest sestriere (areas). Located in the northern side of the city its perimeter is delimited by the Lagoon, the Gran Canal and the Castello and St. Mark sestrieri.

The name Cannaregio probably came from the Cannaregio Canal that means Royal Canal (from the Italian Canal Regio). The district was built during the 11th century and its importance was strictly connected with its Canal, it was the principal route into the city for centuries. The district was mainly inhabited by working class people because the rich Venetian always built their Palaces facing the Gran Canal. At the beginning of the 16th century when the Venetian Jews were forced to live all together in what it will become the first European Ghetto, Cannaregio was the location chose by the government to house it. Part of the area was closed with gates and controlled by guard in order to be sure that no Jews could leave the district between sunset and sunrise. At the end of the 18th century during the Napoleon government the ghetto was abolished and everybody was free to choose where to live. A century later the construction of the Strada Nuova (New Street) started here in Cannaregio. Both a railway and a road bridges were built in order to connect Venice to the mainland.

Cannaregio experienced a vast development during the 15th century so its construction was deeply influenced by the renaissance style. The area is very different from the Medieval Venice and its unique look is testified by the fact that artists like Titian and Tintoretto had chosen to live here.

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Today the Cannaregio Canal is one of the most important in Venice, the only inner one crossed by the public transportation boats. However except for few areas Cannaregio is still very quiet and it is possible to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing walk around its beautiful streets. The area offers also many nice and quiet shops, traditional bakeries and artisanal gelaterie (ice-cream shops).

Also the historic Island of St. Michael’s Cemetery is linked with the Cannaregio sestriere.

Private Venice Jewish Ghetto Tour

Venice -  Ghetto - Ponte de Gheto Novo
Venice - Ghetto - Levantine SynagogueVenice - Ghetto - Jewish CommunityVenice - Ghetto - German SynagogueVenice - Rialto - Rialto BridgeVenice - Cannaregio - ViewVenice - Cannaregio - Ponte delle GuglieVenice - Cannaregio - PescariaVenice - Cannaregio - CanalVenice - Rialto Bridge - detail

From: $62.20



1 hour 45 minutes


09:00 am

11:00 am

02:00 pm

mon, TUe, Wed, Thu, fri, sun


Rialto bridge, more details at booking




Your guide will meet you at the spectacular Rialto Bridge for your Private Venice Jewish Ghetto Tour. Your journey features a one hour walking tour of the unique Cannaregio Sestriere and a 45 minutes visit of the incredible Venice’s Synagogues and Jewish Museum.

Your tour will start immediately while your guide will unveil in front of your eyes the beauty of this charming city. Starting your visit from the stunning Rialto Bridge is a perfect example of what Venice can offers you. The bridge was built originally in wood and it was destroyed many times, the famous bridge that we can admire today it was erected only at the end of the 16th century. Today this is the emblem of Venice!

You now will head to the Cannaregio Sestriere. This district was mostly developed during the Renaissance so what you will experience is a very different Venice compared to the medieval one. Your guide will bring you around where once artists like Titian and Tintoretto came for inspiration!

Your next destination is the Venetian Ghetto established in the Cannaregio Sestriere during the 16th century. Part of the area was closed with gates and controlled by guard in order to be sure that no Jews could leave the district between sunset and sunrise. The Venetian Ghetto is one of the less touristic area of the city. Your guide will show you the different architecture features of this area with its taller building and unique synagogues.

Your tour will bring you to visit the distinctive Venice’s Synagogues, built on top of other buildings in order to respect the law which forbade to build separate synagogues. From here at the end of the tour you are free to continue exploring the fascinating Venice on your own.



– Expert local guide at disposal (1 hour)

– Synagogues and Jewish Museum entrance fees

– Synagogues and Jewish Museum guide (45 minutes)


– Visit of Venice’s Synagogues

– Visit of Jewish Museum

– Rialto Bridge

– Cannaregio Sestriere

– Confirmation will be received at time of booking

– Voucher and detailed operator information, including local emergency numbers will be received three weeks before the date of your tour.

– Adult pricing applies to all travelers.

– The dress code for men and women is strictly enforced in Churches. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts.

– The tour is not fully accessible for wheelchairs or people with walking disabilities.

Departure point:

Rialto Bridge

1 hour 45 minutes

Return details:
Jewish Museum