The JEWISH GHETTO in Venice, Europe's first, is located in the district of Cannaregio. It was once the site of a number of foundries where metal was smelted.
This is the origin of the name geto (foundry in Venetian), corrupted into first gheto, then ghetto used to identify a place of marginalisation.
In 1516, Jews were obliged to live there by a decision of the Council of the Ten and they were forbidden to leave between sunset and dawn.
Originally introduced to protect the Jews, the restriction later became a prison.
Inside the ghetto, the Jews organised their life according to their own traditions and customs. They built a number of synagogues, each representing the original ethnic group and these are still well preserved and of great historical interest.