Jewish Ghetto Venice: guided tours
Discover the treasures of the charming Venice Ghetto! Immerse yourself in one of the city’s most authentic quarters, enter the historic synagogues and discover the Ghetto district, still very authentic and lived in by the Jewish community. We offer you different guided tours with visits of 1 hour or 2 hours, always together with a guide to whom you can ask all the questions to satisfy your curiosity. You’lle be able to discover Venice synagogues and the famous places where the movie “The merchant of Venice” has been realized.
WHY DID WE LIKE THIS EXPERIENCE SO MUCH?
- The atmosphere of the Jewish Ghetto is that of a small city within a city: well worth breathing in.
- The splendor of the synagogues is unsuspected from the outside and absolutely worth the visit
- During the tour, guides reconstruct the entire fascinating history of the Jewish-Venetian community.
- The price depends on the tour chosen and number of participants. Please make a booking simulation to check the price.
- Children under 6 years of age are always free of charge.
Other practical information
The Jewish Museum is currently closed for renovation.
Meeting point and guide
- For tours that include a tour of the exterior of the Ghetto: the name and mobile phone number of the guide will be sent on the days preceding the tour – the meeting point is the well in Campo del Ghetto Nuovo – please arrive 10 minutes before the start of the tour.
- For the 1-hour visit to the interior only: the meeting point is the ticket office in Campo del Ghetto Nuovo – please arrive 10 minutes before the start of the tour – the guide waits inside after passing through the ticket office with the voucher.
- The 2-hour tours take place with 2 different guides, one for the outside and one for the inside.
Languages available for guided tours of the Venice Ghetto
- The external tour of the Ghetto is available in Italian, English, French and on request in German and Spanish.
- The exclusive private tour of the synagogues is available in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Hebrew.
- The shared visit to the synagogues is available in Italian and English – for the timetable for the shared visit in Italian please refer to the Italian page on our website.
Information on visiting synagogues
- Private visits include 2 synagogues and 1 midrash (reading and prayer room) from Sunday to Thursday and Friday morning – Friday from 12 noon the visits include 1 synagogue only and 1 midrash.
- Shared visits include 2 synagogues from Sunday to Thursday and Friday morning – Friday from 12 noon the visits include 1 synagogue only and 1 midrash.
Included / Excluded
- depending on the tour chosen, a private external guided visit to the ghetto (approx. 1 hour) and/or a private or shared visit to the synagogues.
- whatever not specifically included.
Once purchased, the experience is non-refundable.
Every day except Saturdays and Jewish holidays
1 or 2 hours depending on the chosen tour
- Child Friendly
- Accessible with public transport
When you visit Venice, one of the unmissable points of interest is the Jewish Ghetto. If you take a jewish ghetto tour, you will learn the amazing jewish history and discover the famous places of the movie “The Merchant of Venice”.
You will visit marvellous synagogues and discover the quartier at your own pace with a private guide!
Venice Jewish Ghetto: 4 tours to choose from
You can choose from four different tours; let’s discover them together!
- Private guided external tour of the ghetto – duration 1 hour
- Private guided tour of 2 synagogues and 1 midrash – duration 1 hour
- Private guided external tour and shared guided tour of 2 synagogues – duration 2 hours
- Private guided external tour and private guided tour of 2 synagogues and 1 midrash – duration 2 hours
Tours are available all year round by reservation, at least some days in advance. Please remember that tours are not held on Saturdays and on Jewish holidays; on Fridays, afternoon activities may close early in view of the shabbat and in the afternoon the visit of the interior includes 1 synagogue only and 1 midrash.
You can see all the times and costs by making a simulation in the booking box.
The external tour of the Jewish Venice Ghetto
This private and guided tour lasts 1 hour. The Venice Ghetto, is located in the Cannaregio area; although it is a small area of the city, it is possible to distinguish different buildings and details from different historical periods. Today we distinguish between the Old Ghetto, the New Ghetto, and the Very New Ghetto.
The heart of the Ghetto is Campo del Ghetto Novo, overlooked by the Jewish Museum (actually closed) and the Jewish Retirement Home. You can see the pawnshop, the Banco Rosso (one of the old pawnshops active in Venice), and trace the history of Venetian Jews.
Through the Jewish Ghetto, you will see how Venice has influenced the world policy: it is in Venice that the first ghetto in the world has been created. The word comes form the venetian language. Having a private guide for the outdoor part will allow you to satisfy your questions and curiosities!
During this 1-hour exterior guided tour you will learn how to read the Ghetto and decode its symbols and elements. This will allow you to get in touch with Jewish cultural customs and traditions through the special key to the history of Venice. This is why we always recommend the external tour, either alone or combined with the successive visit to the synagogues.
The visit of the synagogue
There are five synagogues in the Venetian Ghetto. Of this five synagogues, there are currently two that can be visited, the Scola Levantina and the Scola Spagnola; after the restoration processes currently underway, it will also be possible to visit a third synagogue.
When you arrive in the ghetto, you will not be able to identify them immediately. Unlike the places of worship of other religions, the synagogues in Venice do not have a monumental façade or an obvious entrance, they are concealed behind the rest of the apartments!
You can choose to visit the synagogues either with an exclusive private tour or with a group tour shared with other people; both last about 1 hour. The exclusive private tour includes a visit to 1 midrash (reading and prayer room) in addition to the 2 synagogues.
The 2-hours guided tour of the Venice Ghetto
This tour will give you a truly comprehensive overview of the Jewish quarter. The two-hour tour combines the exterior visit to the Ghetto with the visit to the synagogues and you will have two different guides.
It can be done in two ways:
- during the first hour there is always the external tour and it is a private visit (in Italian, English, French and on request in German and Spanish);
- during the second hour there is the interior tour that can be either private exclusively (in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Hebrew) or shared with other people (in English and Italian only).
Jewish Venice Ghetto: what you will see during our Tours
From the time of the Serenissima, the Jewish Ghetto and Giudecca are the places most closely associated with the presence of the Jewish community in the lagoon.
The Jewish presence was one of the first to be recognized by the Republic of Venice; the Venetian Ghetto was the area of Venice in which Jews were compelled to live by the government of the Venetian Republic; it was instituted on 29th March 1516 and it is the oldest Jewish ghetto in the world. The English word “ghetto” is derived from the Jewish ghetto in Venice.
Nowadays the Ghetto is a place that attracts many visitors and is a fascinating way to discover an important aspect of Venetian history.
The Jewish ghetto: curiosities
The Ghetto is an area of the Cannaregio sestiere of Venice; it is divided into the Ghetto Nuovo (“New Ghetto”), and the adjacent Ghetto Vecchio (“Old Ghetto”). These names of the ghetto sections are misleading, as they refer to an older and newer site at the time of their use: in terms of Jewish residence, the Ghetto Nuovo is actually older than the Ghetto Vecchio. The ghetto was connected to the rest of the city by two bridges that were only open during the day.
Though it was home to a large number of Jews, the population living in the Venetian Ghetto never became a distinct “Venetian Jewish” ethnicity.
Four of the five synagogues were clearly divided according to ethnic identity: separate synagogues existed for the German , Italian, Spanish and Portuguese and Levantine Sephardi communities. The fifth, the Scuola Canton, ws built as a private synagogue for the four families, one of them the Fano family, who funded its construction, and also served the Venetian Ashkenazi community. Today, there are also other populations of Ashkenazic Jews in Venice, mainly Lubavitchers who operate a kosher food store, a yeshiva, and a Chabad synagogue.
Languages historically spoken in the confines of the Ghetto include Venetian, Italian, Judeo-Spanish, French, and German. In addition, Hebrew was traditionally (and still is) used on signage, inscriptions, and for official purposes such as wedding contracts (as well as, of course, in religious services). Today, English is widely used in the shops and the Museum because of the large number of English-speaking tourists.
Where is the Jewish Quarter in Venice?
The Ghetto of Venice is located in the Cannaregio district, about 5-10 minutes walk from the Santa Lucia train station. Coming from the station you can access it by crossing Ponte delle Guglie and turning immediately left into Fondamenta San Giobbe. After about 50 meters you will take the Sotoportego del Ghetto, on the right.
It is also possible to enter the Ghetto from Fondamenta degli Ormesini, a place of lively nightlife and very recommended for an evening aperitif. From the Fondamenta you cross the iron bridge that leads to Campo del Gheto Novo.
The Venice ghetto is also well connected to ACTV water buses. The nearest stops are “Guglie” and “San Marcuola”, the latter is on the Grand Canal.