The Ghetto, Cannaregio and Castello

Cannaregio is known for its Ghetto and for the Jewish community that was forced to live here from 1516 to 1797. Initially a place of confinement, today it is a place of remembrance where the traditions of nearly 500 Venetian Jews are still alive. The natural continuation of this tour will then take you to the western part of the Castello district. This area is very popular with Venetians and lovers of art and history.

The Ghetto is located in the heart of Cannaregio. The tour will start from Ponte delle Guglie. You will pass through Calle del Ghetto Vecchio to reach the two Sephardic synagogues: Scola Levantina and Scola Spagnola or Ponentina. Both buildings' exteriors are anonymous, blending in perfectly with the ghetto's classic tall, multi-storey buildings.  

With our map you can easily reach Fondamenta Ghetto and enter the island of Ghetto Nuovo, the heart of the Jewish Ghetto. Here you will find the Scola Canton of Askenazita tradition and the Scola Tedesca, the oldest Jewish place of worship in Venice. We recommend a visit to the Jewish Museum to learn more about Jewish culture, arts, crafts and religion. In the Ghetto area, try some Venetian Jewish sweets. For lunch, look for a restaurant around the Ghetto, or a little further afield, perhaps at Fondamente Nove.

Exit the ghetto and move easily through the various calli and rii of Cannaregio. Reach the Church of Madonna dell'Orto for a detailed inside visit. In the church you will find the remains of Tintoretto as well as numerous works of art.  After visiting the church, take a souvenir photo in front of Tintoretto's house. If you love taking photos, from Rio Madonna dell'Orto take a picture of the Ca Mastelli del Cammello, in an almost oriental style. Then head for Ponte Chiodo, a bridge without a parapet. From there head to Fondamente Nove and indulge yourself in taking lots of photos. Or head to Strada Nova if you're in the mood for shopping, with a further diversions for a souvenir photo at Ca D'Oro.

Relax with a cup of coffee before heading back to the north of the island to discover Calle Varisco, the narrowest street in Venice at 53 cm wide! Then visit the Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, one of Venice's most important and majestic buildings in the Castello district.

Once you've completed your tour, we suggest a visit to the Libreria Acqua Alta, both for the books and the ambience.

We also recommend a visit to one of the bacaro in the Castello area, very popular with Venetians, especially for aperitifs.  And then, if you are not tired, go and enjoy the epicentre of Cannaregio's nightlife, Fondamenta degli Ormesini.

If you decide to stay in the ghetto check out the Kosher House at Giardini dei Melograni.