On March 29 the Venice Ghetto turns 503! It is perhaps not generally known that it is one of the world’s oldest Jewish ghettos, and that the word “ghetto” derives its origin from the Venetian word “geto”, meaning foundry, as in ancient time, the area had been used as a foundry. Today the Ghetto, with its five synagogues, the Jewish Museum and the very tall houses, is a lively and popular district of the city, in the Cannaregio area. There is also a nursery school, an old people’s home, a visitors’ hostel, two restaurants and a baker where you can buy and eat Kosher.

For almost three centuries, from 1516 to 1797, Venice’s ghetto was an enclosed area of the city, and Jews were not permitted to live outside its confines. Strong gates sealed the two entrances to the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, and every evening the inhabitants had to go back inside and remain there until morning.

With the fall of the Republic and the rise of Napoleon, discrimination against the Jews was outlawed. The gates of the ghetto were removed, along with the obligation to live within the area.

Today the ghetto is reached by three bridges, but in the past there were only two: the bridge leading to the Rio della Misericordia did not exist. On the stone posts of the portico leading to the Old Ghetto, one can still see the marks made by the hinges of the gates which were closed at sunset.

In 1938, with the introduction of the fascist race laws, Jews were stripped of their civil rights and thus began the Nazi-fascist persecution which led to the deportation of 246 Venetian Jews; of these, only eight returned from the extermination camps.


Venice has a history spanning almost 16 centuries: in fact the foundation of the Serenissima’s city is traced back to the legendary laying of the first stone of the San Giacomo of Rialto church, San Giacometo, as the Venetians still call it today. We are, according to tradition, in 421, on 25th March (in reality the church was almost certainly built after the year one thousand). This symbolic date is now in use to indicate the birth of the lagoon city. Precisely, on 25th March, the date of the Annunciation of Mary, that is the same of the Incarnation of the Lord: a circumstance that seems (indeed, is) made on purpose to justify the fact that in Venice March was the first month of the year. Until the fall of the Republic, that is until 1797, Venice had been celebrating the New Year at the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

This year, on 25th March, Venice celebrates 1598 years! Over the centuries, the city of St. Mark has become the jewel we can all admire. Even today, you cannot miss out the chance of getting lost in Venice, discovering its hidden treasures, visiting palaces, gardens, churches and museums less known and far from the most popular routes, exploring the historic City, the lagoon and the mainland to discover local cuisine, crafts, unique natural landscapes.
No doubt we are all called to adopt a few simple behaviors to ensure that our trip to Venice is as much as possible in harmony with the daily life of those who live there, and respect the beauty and uniqueness of the priceless heritage of the city, site protected by UNESCO.


Grimani Palace in Santa Maria Formosa is one of the most surprising and unusual museums in Venice. This beautiful Renaissance palace, now Museum of the Veneto Museum Pole, in the sixteenth century was already both a house and a museum famous throughout Europe for its marbles, stuccoes and frescoes as well as for its rich collection of antiquities. In 1573, King Henry III of France was one of the first visitors to the palace; then, between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, the Grimani family’s house was part of the usual Grand Tour destinations. The residence of the doge Antonio Grimani was expanded and finished during the sixteenth century, and his nephew Giovanni, Patriarch of Aquileia, and his brother Vettore, Attorney of San Marco, completed its design and decoration.

In 1587, Giovanni Grimani donated the entire collection of antiquities to the Serenissima, which gave birth to the first nucleus of the National Archaeological Museum of Venice, where it is still on display today. Some pieces from the Giovanni collection can be still admired in their original location at Grimani Palace: one of these pieces is the extremely well-photographed statue called Ratto di Ganimede, a Roman replica of a late Hellenistic model, hanging in the center of the Tribuna, a room that once hosted over a hundred statues, which are the finest of the collection.

All the areas of the palace have wonders: the large courtyard, whose lodges were adorned with classical statues, is unique in Venice, inspired by the ancient Roman domus and the cultural climate of the Renaissance, and the monumental staircase could compete for magnificence with the Scala d’Oro of Palazzo Ducale and with that one of the Marciana Library, both of which are known to be the most magnificent throughout Venice. Visiting the other rooms, you are surrounded by extraordinary paintings of mythological scenes, trompe-l’oeil, rare marbles, stucco decorations and allegorical frescoes. Surprising is the Sala a Fogliami, where you have the impression of being taken into a green garden: the ceiling is entirely covered with fruit trees, flowers and birds. You can also recognize plant species coming from the New World, which at that time were recently discovered, such as tobacco and corn.

This year the Grimani Palace Museum can be visited for free on the first Sunday of the month from October to March, on the Museum Week until 10th March, on 12th March, on 19th March (Father’s Day), on 22nd March, on 25th April, on 22nd June (Venice ArtNight), on 26th September, on 21st November and on 13th December. From May 2019, the ancient glory of Grimani Palace lives again with the outstanding exhibition called Domus Grimani 1594 – 2019, which celebrates the return after more than 430 years in its original location of the classical statues collection, which belonged to Giovanni Grimani.


From “DeTourism”

Good morning, siora maschera!

Here the wife and the husband there / Everyone goes wherever he wants / Everyone rushes to a rendez-vous, / some go playing some go dancing” (The Masquerade, 1751). These lines by Carlo Goldoni are the very synthesis of the Venetian Carnival. What to do to experience the Carnival as it was in the eighteenth century, at the time of Goldoni and Casanova, the golden age of the Venetian Carnival? Here are our suggestions.

  • First of all, wear the mask: the baùta, the most classic disguise, consisting of a cloak, a tricorn and a “larva”. The “larva” is a white beaky mask, which completely covers the face and alters the voice, without preventing those who wear it from eating or drinking. It was mostly used by men, while women preferred the moretta, a small oval mask made of black velvet. To make it stick to the face, a button had to be tightened between the teeth, so that it was impossible to speak.
  • Enjoy hot chocolate, coffee and frittelle in one of the many historic cafés. In fact, the tradition of coffee was born in Venice, and it was then spread to the rest of Italy. The first coffee shop was opened in St Mark’s Square in 1683: in 1759 the city had 206 coffee shops.
  • Admire the painting by Francesco Guardi at Ca’ Rezzonico – Museum of the Venetian 18th Century, which depicts the Ridotto of Dandolo Palace at San Moisè. The “ridotto” was a gambling house, where Venetians and foreigners could meet to gamble legally. It was open during the whole period of the ancient Venice Carnival, which lasted from December 26 until Ash Wednesday. Those who went there were required to wear a mask, to remain anonymous.
  • Visit the Goldoni Theatre, the oldest theatre in the city still existing today, built in 1622. The tour with audio guide, available in Italian and English, allows you to discover anecdotes and secrets of the great actors who have been acting on the stage of the Goldoni theatre since the 17th century.


In this period Venice celebrates Carnival, until 5 March. For days the city has already been smelling of the frìtole, the frittelle, a must during Carnival time.

In ancient times the frìtole were a street food: they were prepared exclusively by the fritolèri, who sold them on the street. The fritolèri, a profession that has been passed down from father to son ever since the 17th century, have definitely disappeared from the streets of Venice in the late 19th century.

Their secret recipe included flour, eggs, sugar, raisins and pine nuts, which the frìtoleri kneaded on large wooden tables, and then fry the mixture. Once cooked, the frìtole were sprinkled with sugar and placed on large plates, ready to be consumed by passers-by.

Today the frìtole can be tasted with different fillings: cream, eggnog, apple – and in this period they can be found everywhere: in the houses of the Venetians, in the confectioneries, in the cafes and in the bakeries.

The image above represents the Insegna dell’Arte dei Fritolèri, oil on wooden panel, 1784. Among the signs of the Venetian guilds, there is also the sign of the guild of the fritolèri, nowadays held at the Correr Museum. The Government of the Serenissima had imposed a curious rule on the fritolèri: they could turn freely around the city to sell their sweets but without offering them out loud!