Venetian Ghetto
  • Europe /
  • Italy /
  • Venice

A short itinerary focused on the history of Europe's oldest ghetto

(by Ethan Doyle White, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

(by Ethan Doyle White, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Ashkenazi, Italian and Sephardic rite communities were established in the ghetto, subdivided according to origin: Jews from northeastern Europe, southern France, southern Italy, Turkey and the Greek islands (Levantine) and Spain and Portugal (Ponentine). Each of these five communities set up its own place of worship to keep its ritual customs unchanged. On the outside, these synagogues, also called “scole”, look very inconspicuous, and only a few large windows or Hebrew lettering justify their worshipping nature. The reason was that Jews, at that time, were not allowed to construct new buildings, and in order to make these synagogues, space had to be carved out of the interiors of pre-existing structures. Note how these spaces were all carved out on the top floor since there cannot be anything above the synagogue for religious reasons. 

On the other hand, the interiors are rich and finely decorated, which is why some Venetian synagogues are considered among the most beautiful in Europe. Let’s discover the synagogues in Venice.


1. The origin of the name

2. The architecture

3. The economy

4. Synagogues

5. Scola Grande Tedesca

6. Scola Canton

7. Scola Italiana