The Church of San Maurizio is situated in the eponymous campo. It have been founded in the 16th century and reconstructed in 1806. The front facade is in Neoclassical style adorned with the bassreliefs in its timpan and two bassreliefs on each side above the lunotta.
In the 18th century the church was seat of the attelier of the famous sculptor Antonio Canova.
As you explore the Ghetto area you may be asked if you want to join a tour of the synagogues and if you want to see them inside then go as this is the only way (apart from a service) of seeing the inside of them.
Tours in English tend to begin half past the hour, and lasts approximately forty minutes.
Venice old Ghetto is one of my favourite stroll destination. I love to get lost in its small streets and I enjoy to hang out in Campo del Ghetto Nuovo and just watch the people. There are some Jewish restaurants there and, some shops that sell antiques and old books and of course Synagogue. It is really a different Venice and never crowded as it is far from the usual touristic route.
The history of Venice is not all about romantic canals and evocative gothic and renaissance art; it has its not so pleasant moments.
The former Jewish quarters centered around Campo del Ghetto Nuovo is regarded as the world's first ghetto - in the original sense of the word (not in its present, crime-and-grime associated context). This is where the city's Jews were relocated and locked up at night by the dominant Christian population and where they lived under tight rules, although they were allowed to practice their religion. This went on from the late 1500s to until the late 1700s when the Venetian republic fell, after which the Jews were given their freedom to live in other places in the islands.
Today, the campo is surrounded by Museum Ebraico (a museum devoted to Jewish religious artifacts), and four synagogues - Schola Canton, Schola Italiana, Schola Levantina, and Schola Spagnola.
There is a memorial to the 200 Venetian Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust in the campo; a series of bronze plaques, and a poem by Andre Tranc.
Arbit Blatas, the artist, also created the moving bronze memorial on the north side of the campo. Entitled 'The Last Train', it lists the names and ages of all those who suffered.
Medieval Venetian Jews wre subject to a number of laws and restrictions.
Apart from being locked in at night (doctors were the only people allowed to leave the Ghetto at night), they were forbidden to take part in some trades, but encouraged in others (money-lending in particular).
It didn't maytter if they converted to Christianity:the law remained the same.
You can see a stone inscribed with the laws and regulations concerning what Jews and converts may or may not do (and the associated penalties) part-way down Calle di Ghetto Vecchio.
In Medieval times (and earlier) Jews lent money, Christians did not. That is, historically, one of the main reasons for their continued persecution in so many countries. So much easier to organise persecution than pay one's debts........
If you look very carefully around the Campo, you can still see the legend 'Banco Rosso' over the lintel of number 2911.
There were many Jews in Medieval Venice, so the Ghetto became overcrowded. Even when new areas were opened up (the Ghetto Vecchio in 1541, the Ghetto Nuovomisso in 1633) conditions were cramped.
Jews were not allowed to own property in the ghetto, so landlords created buildings with low ceilings and many floors (7 is most usual). The ghetto buildings were not allowed to be more than a third higher than others in the city. The architectural style in some parts of the Ghetto is, in consequence, quite different to the rest of Venice.
Th Ghetto area really dates from 1516, when the Ghetto Nuovo became the Jewish quarter of Venice (and it is the Venetian ghetto which originally gave the word to the rest of the world).
At night, the area was sealed off by gates and guarded. In the daytime Jew could wander freely, but had to wear badges and/or caps to show their race.
You can still see where the gates once were in the Sottoportego Ghetto Nuovo: there are gaps which once housed the hinges.
On our way back to the Grand Canal we passed-by Tintoretto's house, which houses work by this popular artist. We also visited his local parish church, the Madonna dell'Orta. The name of the church originates from a weeping statue found in a nearby garden. After that we walked our way a bit back to the station to admire Campo Ghetto Nuovo and its Sinagoga.
Finally we made it to Strada Nuova, which is one of Venice's major town-planning schemes, linking the city centre around Rialto with the railway station. Our conclusion about Cannaregio is that on this sestiere, special attention must be paid to the number of palaces, dating from the Byzantine period to the 18th century, that are to be found together with large 16th century quater of the Ghetto, and the churches and monasteries, which are numerous in this area too.
Sestiere of Cannaregio.
North western of Piazza San Marco – a 12 minute walk.
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