The word ghetto is derived from the Venetian word "geto" indicating the place where metal was cast: there was an iron foundry here for making cannons until 1390 when it was transferred to the Arsenal. The word ghetto is subsequently used to refer to isolated Jewish communities in other cities. From which the word "Ghetto" derived, the Jewish ghetto of Venice is the world's oldest. Jews from the East, Northern Europe, Spain and Portugal had been coming to Venice for short periods, in which they were sometimes tolerated or persecuted. In 1252, Jews were not allowed to settle in the main part of the city, so they settled on the island of Spinaulunga, which later became Giudecca. Until 1385, when the first Jews began to settle in Venice , Jews were only allowed to come to Venice for money-lending purposes. But, in 1385, when the city was involved in a war with nearby Chioggia , they needed loans from Jewish money-lenders to finance their campaign and so they allowed Jews to move into the city. But it was not until 1516 that the Maggior Consiglio gave the Jews permission to inhabit part of this city. Where, at night, all routes leading in an out of the Ghetto were guarded and sealed by locked gates. The Jews had limitations set on their economic activities in Venice. They were only allowed to have pawn shops, trade textiles and practice medicine. Whenever the Jews left the Ghetto area the men had to wear a yellow circle stitched on the left shoulder, while the women wore a yellow scarf.
The first Jews to settle in the ghetto of Venice were central European Ashkenazim, constructed two synagogues. In 1528, the Scola Grande Tedesca was built, and later in 1532, the Scola Canton. They are still intact, and occupy the rooms above and adjacent to the Jewish museum. In an area where space was limited, the Jews had no real choice but to build their synagogues in the attic stories of buildings as Jewish law forbids that anything should come between the synagogue and...
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