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Rita Crane Photography: Italy / Venice / Ghetto Nuovo / bridge / rain / buildings / Glimpse of the Ghetto Nuovo, Cannaregio Sestiere, Venice

A soft misty winter day in the Ghetto Nuevo. Most bridges of Venice are made of bricks and stone, but the Ponte Ghetto Nuovo in the Cannaregio district is one of the few wrought iron bridges of Venice. A unique part of the city, this historic place - on this cold winter's day - was very peaceful here with few people out in the rain. The Ghetto Nuovo district has a different architecture from the rest of Venice: buildings were built taller and had more stories than the traditional Venetian houses -- to deal with overcrowding over the centuries.


By the way, the word 'ghetto' originated with the Italian word 'gettate' (see below) and referred to the metal foundries that were located in the district that eventually became designated for its Jewish population. Jewish families arrived in Venice, coming from all over the Mediterranean, and later from many parts of Europe, bringing with them their talents and skills. From the 16th century onward, they were allowed to reside in this one area only, of Venice. Despite the many ups and downs they experienced over time like Venice itself, they made invaluable contributions to the city. Venice had a district for Greeks as well .... in the area around San Greci church.


And here is some information for you exerpted from the following link:


The Historic Jewish Ghetto


"The existence of a Jewish population in the region that was to become Venice can be documented as early as the first century of the Common Era, a time when many Jews moved around the Mediterranean. A document dated 1386, in which the Serenissima granted Jews living around the lagoon city a stretch of land at San Nicolò (Lido) to be used as a cemetery, confirms a Jewish presence in Venice. After Venice's defeat in the League of Cambrai, in which the city fought every power in Europe, many refugees poured in, and the Jewish population became a valuable asset for its medical, banking and commerce skills. The creation of the Ghetto in 1516 required Jewish families to live and worship in a precisely defined area, an islet in the parish of San Geremia. It was an area where metals were "gettate", ie. cast or founded, and where the Republic's iron and brass foundries were located. Venice imposed a curfew on the Jewish community, and required residents to wear identifying badges. They were permitted to rent but not to own real estate. Although restrictive, the Ghetto also provided a safe haven for Jews from the violence and aggression against non-Christians in the economically and politically strained Venice of the early sixteenth century. Despite these severe limitations, the Jewish community prospered in Venice, and they received better treatment there than in many other European cities at this time."


And here are other photos on Flickr of the Ghetto Nuovo...many of them taken on sunnier days so you can see this special place under a different light.


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Taken on March 5, 2006