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Jewish Venice

Ghetto Novo Venice

PHOTOS: The Ghetto Nuovo (or "Gheto Novo" in Venetian dialect) is the center of Jewish life in Venice.

Ghetto Novo dialect signVenice's Jewish community goes back at least to the 11th Century. As the Venetian Republic grew into a powerful trading nation, Jews flocked to Venice from Germany, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and points beyond.

By the 1600s, there were an estimated 5,000 Jews living in Venice. Numbers declined after the Ghetto was created in 1516, and the last 200 or so Jews were shipped off to concentration camps during World War II.

Today, Venice's Jewish population is growing again, although its numbers are small and are skewed toward Lubavicher Jews who have moved into Venice from other cities in Italy and abroad. For Orthodox Jewish tourists, the increased vitality of Venice's Jewish community means that kosher hotels and eating places are now readily available.

Background reading:

Venice's Ghetto
Our four-page article includes history, information on what to see, and links to other resources.


Museo Ebraico di Venezia
The Jewish Museum of Venice has many examples of religious objects, books, and other relics of Jewish life in Venice from the 16th to 19th Centuries. It offers guided tours of historic synagogues in the Ghetto, with narration in Italian and English.

Hotels and restaurants:

Locanda del Ghetto
This inn is a "Town House Suites 1st Category" property, which is the equivalent of a three-star hotel. It faces the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, with a synagogue and the Museo Ebraico as neighbors

Kosher House Giardino dei Melograni
The Giardino dei Melograni also looks over the campo. It has 14 single to quad rooms, a restaurant, mikveh baths, and free Wi-Fi in public areas.

Gam Gam Kosher Restaurant
Venice's oldest continuously-operating Jewish restaurant is at the main entrance to the Ghetto by the Cannaregio Canal. See our Gam Gam restaurant review. (Many readers have e-mailed us with positive comments about Gam Gam.)

Historical novel:

The Midwife of Venice
Roberta Rich is the author of this historical novel set in the Venetian Ghetto. The book has been published in the United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, and Turkey. (This link will take you to a discussion of the book, with a link to the author's Web site, in our Venice Travel Blog.)