In the bad old days two massive doors on Calle del Porton (‘of the big door’), just on the south side of the Ponte degli Ormesini, would seal in the residents of the world’s first ghetto, where the houses loom over the water like a wall. Today the Ghetto remains the centre of the Jewish community in Venice, even if its 450 members now live all over the city: a nursing home, nursery school, library, and kosher restaurant are to be found here.
The campo is the evocative if melancholy and claustrophobic heart of the quarter. Compressed by water on all sides, some of the first ‘tower blocks’ ever built rise high here. Seven bas-reliefs by Arbit Blatas commemorate the 202 Venetian Holocaust victims. Here too you can visit the Museo Comunità Ebraica, which offers a tour of the otherwise inaccessible local synagogues.
Image by Luciano