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Monday, 16 October 2017 12:50

Jewish Ghetto in Venice

Free Walk in Venice tours - Cannaregio and the Jewish Ghetto

 The Jewish Ghetto, the world's oldest, remains intact and is still marked by dark porticoes, peeling paint, laundry hung out to dry, and windows placed so close above one another that you're back aches just thinking about the low ceiling.

Until the 14th century, Jews were allowed to come to Venice for money-lending activities, but were not allowed permanent residents permits. The first Jews were allowed to settle in Venice only in 1385, when the city was involved in a war against neighbouring Chioggia and needed loans from the Jewish money-lenders.
But racism persisted, and in 1516 Venice's ruling council confined all the Jews in a smallen getti, or foundries. The gates were locked at night, and restrictions were placed on Jewish economic activities. Jews were only allowed to operate pawn shops and lend money, trade in textiles, and practice medicine.
They were allowed to area not far from today's train station, where there had be leave the Ghetto during the day, but were marked as Jews: Men wore a yellow circle stitched on the left shoulder of their cloaks or jackets, while women wore a yellow scarf. Later on, the men's circle became a yellow beret and still later a red one.
The first Jews to settle in the Ghetto were the central European Ashkenazim. They built two Synagogues. the Scola Grande Tedesca in 1528-29 and the Scola Canton in 1531-32. They are on the top floors of adjacent buildings, above the Jewish museum and from the outside, are not easily distinguishable from the apartments around them.
Space was limited, and according to Jewish law it is forbidden to have any thing between the Synagogue and the sky - hence their strange attic location. The canton Synagogue was probably added to house the large number of Jews already in the Ghetto.
Next came the Levantine Jews, who practiced the Sepharadic rite. When they got their own neighbourhood, an extension of the Venetian Ghetto granted in 1541, they were wealthy enough to build a Synagogue on the ground, rather than in cramped top floor apartments. The rich red and gold interior of the Levantine Synagogue is particularly beautiful. If you're their in the summer and get to see it. note the intricately carved wooden bimah , or pulpit, and the carved wooden decorations on the ceiling.
Mixed in with the poorer Ashkenazim were Italian Jews who had migrated north to Venice from central and southern Italy. In 1575, they built their own Synagogue on top of some apartments in the same square as the German shul. The Scola Italiana has a cupola, barely visible from the square outside, and a portico with columns marking it's entrance. Inside, there's another exquisitely carved wooden ark of the covenant, housing the Torah.
Levatines and Ashkenazim, Italian and Spanish Jews all lived together in the Ghetto through hard times - including the plague of 1630 - and better times, until Napoleon threw open the gates in 1797 and recognized equal rights to the Jews of Venice. At its height, around 1650, the Ghetto housed about 4,000 people in a space roughly equivalent to 2-1/2 city blocks. Before World War II there were still about 1,300 Jews in the Ghetto, but 289 were deported by the Nazis and only seven returned.

 

Info: http://www.jewishvenice.org/

 

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Free Walk in Venice tours loves the sestier de Cannaregio!

As well as the Sestiere of Castello it is the largest and most populated "sestier" of Venice, it takes the whole northern part of the city, it is delimited by the Lagoon, the Grand Canal and the Castello and San Marco (Saint Mark) Sestiere. The Cannaregio canal is the most important water way of the quarter right after the Grand Canal and it is the only inner canal crossed by the ACTV (public transport company) boat, our vaporetti. Cannaregio is linked to the mainland by a bridge, it is the long railroad bridge from the Santa Lucia Train station to the mainland, the bridge of the Liberty (about 3 850 m) once called ponte Littorio.

The cannaregio name comes probably by the fact that here there where many reed thicket. This appear also on a book date 1410. This is a popular quarter of Venice, well know for the presence of the Jewish getto (the oldest in Europe). The majority of the artworks in this part of the city can be admired inside churches.

It's an area full of our Bacari, typical places for eating and drinking in Venice!

 

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Rialto Market and the lenght fish

As everyone knows, Rialto was and is still the commercial heart of our beautiful Venice. Even today in this area you can see the main markets with fresh fish and fruits and vegetables that are bearing the morning by boat. What a wonderful experience to be there early morning! The best of themselves the Rialto offers before the opening, where you can find the best bargains in action seeing the skilled tradesmen.

These markets are open all week (fish market is close on Sundays ans Mondays), always crowded first of all with  Venetians...and tourists. 

The fish market is open from Tuesday to Saturday  from 7.30 to  about 12, while that of fruits and vegetables is open from 7.30 to about 13.30.

 The most fish stalls is in two buildings with a view of the Grand Canal, in the Campo del pesce (campo of the fish).

A close area, the so called Erberia, however, is the right area where you can find the fruit and vegetable market. It offers an interesting walk through colorful fresh fruits and vegetables.

These markets were built in neo-Gothic style in 1907 as a replacement of the metal roofing from the nineteenth century. The fish market has been here for almost a thousand years. Let you know that that the Republic of Venice regulated since 1173 the sale of fish with a special edict which laid down the rules for the trade. La Serenissima was particularly severe with fish vendors selling undersized fish.

Already in 1173 an edict of the Republic of Venice informed consumers on the minimum size of the fish one should buy, imposing precise and strict rules. Today at the Rialto fish market one can still see a white marble table. It indicates the minimum length allowed for the sale of fish, in particular about the catch of some species of fish in order to preserve their growth: from the 12 centimetres of the bass ( keep in mind that today they have become 25 centimetres) to the 3 for mussels (in Venice called peoci).

 

 Rialto market white marble table indicating the minimum length allowed for the sale of fish Free Walk in venice tours Isola Tour

Good to know that already 900 years ago fishermen were questioning the legitimacy of some fishing. Why? Because  the minimum length of the different species of fish can influence the destiny of the sea’s population. And this is  the objective of the Decree 1967/2006, also known as the “Mediterranean Decree”.

 

rialto market free walk in venice isola tour.jpeg

Here our Veronica at the Rialto market during the heart and soul of Venice tour by Isola Tour. Join our Free Walk in Venice!

 

 

Free Walk in Venice

by Isola Tour association

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Wednesday, 02 November 2016 19:07

Coffee in Venice!

Do you like the Italian coffee "espresso"?

Europeans got their first taste of coffee in 1615 when Venetian merchants who had become acquainted with the drink in Istanbul carried it back with them to Venice. Venetian merchants followed the sea routes that linked the far east with Venice and Naples, bringing the first bags of coffee in their city. At first, the beverage was sold on the street by lemonade vendors, but in 1645 the first coffeehouse opened in Italy. Coffeehouse soon sprang up all over the country and they become a platform for people, especially artists and students to come together and chat…then it is certain that Venice was the first place in Italy where people experienced the delicious aroma of coffee! Historical documents revealed that the ambassador in Costantinople Gianfrancesco Morosini was the first to mention the coffee in a report to the senate of Venice in 1585. Some ancient papers testify that in Venice the coffee was very expensive and considered a valuable medicine (prepared as infusion with powder of roasted coffee beans). Towards the end of the century, the infusion of coffee became so popular and required by the people, and the senate issued a special order and it procured and imported larger quantities of coffee for the city of Venice.

 

The first coffee shop was opened by Turkish traders in Saint Mark’s square under the Procuratie Nuove.  Given the success in a short time it opened more than 200 coffee shop throughout the city. In 1720 was opened the CAFÉ’ FLORIAN , which boasted a long line of illustrious clients, such as: Giacomo Casanova, Carlo Goldoni and Lord Byron. Equally important are two other historic coffee in Saint Mark’s square: CAFFE’ QUADRI and CAFFE’ LAVENA , the first opened in 1775 and the second in 1750.

 

 

If you want to discover more about the daily life in Venice book your free tour by Isola Tour , the original Free Walk in Venice! :)

 

Enjoy a hot cup of coffee!

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Do you want to know people coming from different parts of the world, discovering the real hidden Venice? Wear your best smile and join FREE WALK IN VENICE, our Venice free tour ! - English activities Everyday - italiano su richiesta - www.freewalkinvenice.org

 

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Do you want to know people coming from different parts of the world, discovering the real hidden Venice? Wear your best smile and join FREE WALK IN VENICE, our Venice free tour ! - English activities Everyday - italiano su richiesta - www.freewalkinvenice.org

 

 

 

 

 

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We are so glad to invite you to the following free concerts organized by our One stage friends! Don't loose this opportunity :)
Friday October 14th: 5 PM Santa Maria della Pietà, Venice
Saturday October 15th: 9 PM Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Venice
 
Venerdi 14 ottobre: concerto pomeridiano ore 17:00 presso Santa Maria della Pieta’ – Sestiere Castello, 3701 – Venezia
Sabato 15 ottobre: concerto serale ore 21:00 presso Santa Maria dei Miracoli – Cannaregio
 
pietà.jpg
 
And then... don't forget to book your Free Walk in Venice - www.freewalkinvenice.org !
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Wednesday, 28 September 2016 17:29

Book a FREE WALK IN VENICE tour!

16.09.20 www.freewalkinvenice.org LUCIA

 

 

Do you want to know people coming from different parts of the world, discovering the real hidden Venice? Wear your best smile and join FREE WALK IN VENICE, our Venice free tour ! - English activities Everyday - italiano su richiesta - www.freewalkinvenice.org

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Friday, 02 September 2016 09:18

Regata Storica 2016

Regata Storica 2016

Sunday 4th September 2016 at 4 PM

On Sunday September 4th we are running only the FREE WALK IN VENICE -original free tour- at 10 AM. Why?

---> Because of the Regata Storica! I is the main event in the annual "Voga alla Veneta" rowing calendar. This unique sport has been practised in the Venetian lagoon for thousands of years and today it is particularly well-known for the spectacular historical water pageant that precedes the race. Scores of typically 16th century-style boats with gondoliers in period costume carry the Doge, the Doge's wife and all the highest ranking Venetian officials up the Grand Canal in a brightly coloured parade. An unforgettable sight and a true reconstruction of the glorious past of one of most the powerful and influential Maritime Republics in the Mediterranean.

Today there are four races divided in terms of age and type of craft. The best known and most exciting of these is the "Campioni su Gondolini" race, where a series of small, sporting gondolas fly down the Grand Canal to the finishing line at the famous "machina", the spectacular floating stage located in front of the Ca' Foscari palace.


For more info: Regata storica Venezia website

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016 21:51

Can We Save Venice Before It’s Too Late?

An interesting article by Salvatore Settis. The chairman of the Louvre Museum’s scientific advisory council and the author of the forthcoming book “If Venice Dies.”

PISA, Italy — A deadly plague haunts Venice, and it’s not the cholera to which Thomas Mann’s character Gustav von Aschenbach succumbed in the Nobel laureate’s 1912 novella “Death in Venice.” A rapacious tourist monoculture threatens Venice’s existence, decimating the historic city and turning the Queen of the Adriatic into a Disneyfied shopping mall.

Millions of tourists pour into Venice’s streets and canals each year, profoundly altering the population and the economy, as many native citizens are banished from the island city and those who remain have no choice but to serve in hotels, restaurants and shops selling glass souvenirs and carnival masks.

Tourism is tearing apart Venice’s social fabric, cohesion and civic culture, growing ever more predatory. The number of visitors to the city may rise even further now that international travelers are avoiding destinations like Turkey and Tunisia because of fears of terrorism and unrest. This means that the 2,400 hotels and other overnight accommodations the city now has no longer satisfy the travel industry’s appetites. The total number of guest quarters in Venice’s historic center could reach 50,000 and take it over entirely.

Just along the Grand Canal, Venice’s main waterway, the last 15 years have seen the closure of state institutions, judicial offices, banks, the German Consulate, medical practices and stores to make way for 16 new hotels.

Alarm at this state of affairs led to last month’s decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to place Venice on its World Heritage in Danger list unless substantial progress to halt the degradation of the city and its ecosystem is made by next February. Unesco has so far stripped only one city of its status as a heritage site from the more than 1,000 on the list: Dresden, after German authorities ignored Unesco’s 2009 recommendations against building a bridge over the River Elbe that marred the Baroque urban ensemble. Will Venice be next to attain this ignominious status?

In its July report, Unesco’s committee on heritage sites expressed “extreme concern” about “the combination of ongoing transformations and proposed projects threatening irreversible changes to the overall relationship between the City and its Lagoon,” which would, in its thinking, erode the integrity of Venice.

Unesco’s ultimatum stems from several longstanding problems. First, the increasing imbalance between the number of the city’s inhabitants (which plummeted from 174,808 in 1951 to 56,311 in 2014, the most recent year for which numbers are available) and the tourists. Proposed large-scale development, including new deepwater navigation channels and a subway running under the lagoon, would hasten erosion and strain the fragile ecological-urban system that has grown up around Venice.

For now, gigantic cruise liners regularly parade in front of Piazza San Marco, the city’s main public square, mocking the achievements of the last 1,500 years. To mention but one, the M.S.C. Divina is 222 feet high, twice as tall as the Doge’s Palace, a landmark of the city that was built in the 14th century. At times, a dozen liners have entered the lagoon in a single day.

The inept response of the Italian authorities to the very real problems facing Venice gives little hope that this situation will change anytime soon. After the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia in January 2012 off the coast of Tuscany left 32 people dead, the Italian government ruled that megaships must stay at least two miles from shore to prevent similar occurrences in the future. But the Italian government, predictably, failed to stand up to the big money promised by the tourist companies: A loophole to that law was created just for Venice. A cruise liner running ashore in the Piazza San Marco would wreck centuries of irreplaceable history.

Furthermore, after a corruption scandal over a multibillion-dollar lagoon barrier project forced Mayor Giorgio Orsoni to resign in June 2014, he was replaced a year later by Luigi Brugnaro, a booster of Venice’s tourism. Mr. Brugnaro not only fully welcomes the gargantuan ships but has even proposed the sale of millions of dollars of art from the city’s museums to help manage Venice’s ballooning debt.

The destruction of Venice is not in Italy’s best interest, yet the authorities remain paralyzed. Local authorities — the city and the region — are at odds with the government in Rome. Regardless, they have failed to diversify the city’s economy, meaning that any changes would put the few remaining Venetians out of work. To renew Venice’s economic life, new policies are strongly needed, aimed at encouraging young people to stay in the historic city, encouraging manufacturing and generating opportunities for creative jobs — from research to universities and the art world — while reutilizing vacant buildings.

No effective provision on Venice’s behalf has been enforced so far by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, although protection of environment and cultural heritage is among the fundamental principles of the Italian Constitution. Nor are authorities developing any project whatsoever aimed not just at preserving the monuments of Venice, but at ensuring its citizens a future worth living.

If Italy is to spare Venice from further violation by the new plague devouring its beauty and collective memory, it must first review its overall priorities and, abiding by its own Constitution, place cultural heritage, education and research before petty business.

 NY Times August 29th 2016

 

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