• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Shakespeare first to mark 500 years of Venice ghetto
Shakespeare's "Merchants of Venice" will be performed in the New Ghetto neighbourhood. Photo: Joanna Penn

Shakespeare first to mark 500 years of Venice ghetto

AFP · 10 Mar 2016, 08:05

Published: 10 Mar 2016 08:05 GMT+01:00

The play, in which the best known character, Shylock, is a Venetian Jewish moneylender, is to be put on by the Compagnia de' Colombari and Ca' Foscari University.

It will be performed in the "New Ghetto" neighbourhood of the floating city in the last week of July as one of the highlights of anniversary events which kick off on March 29th, exactly 500 years after the world's first ghetto was proclaimed.

Given what the ghetto represented, the events marking the anniversary will have a bittersweet element, said Renzo Gattegna, President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.

"As Jews, we do not have any nostalgia for the ghetto which was a symbol of the contempt and arrogance with which we were treated at the time," he said.

The anniversary year will begin with a concert at the city's celebrated Fenice Opera on the anniversary and is also to be marked by a major exhibition "Venice, the Jews and Europe 1516-2016" which will run from June to November at the Doge's Palace.

The ghetto was created by a decree issued by the Venetian Republic's Senate ordering the city's Jews, then numbering around 700, to live within a designated area of the city which they were only allowed to leave in daylight hours.

"We are not going to be celebrating this anniversary in any sense of the word," said Maria Cristina Gribaudi, head of the Venice museums foundation.

"It is more about sending a message of peace so that a new generation becomes aware of this history.

The ghetto model was copied elsewhere in Europe and the word itself, derived from the Venetian dialect, went on to be adopted in many languages as a synonym for discriminatory segregation on racial lines.

Story continues below…

Originally made up of Jews of mainly German and Italian origin, the Venetian community grew to number more than 4,000 and became more diverse over the years thanks to the city's important role as a centre for trade.

The current community of around 500 people can also trace its roots back to Jewish communities in Spain and Portugal and the Middle East.

The segregation of Jews in Venice was abolished at the end of the 18th Century after the collapse of the Venetian Republic following its military defeat by Napoleon.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy to remove corpses from salvaged migrant boat
Activists pray for those who died in the 2015 tragedy. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The sinking left around 800 dead - but they will now get proper burials.

Lidl and Bertolli fined €550k for fake 'extra virgin' olive oil
Photo: Dave Fayram/Flickr

The fines for misleading branding were recently hiked in Italy's ongoing battle to protect its oils.

Two-year-old hospitalized after being raised vegan
File photo: Joe Radele/AFP/Getty Images

The toddler spent several days in intensive care where she was treated for health complications thought to be caused by her parents' vegan diet.

Italy and the Netherlands offer to share UN council seat
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the Security Council. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP

Italy's Foreign Minister said the shared term would show "unity" from two European countries.

Conte theatrics a boon for Italy, and Chelsea fans
Antonio Conte during the Italy-Spain game on Monday. Photo: Philppe Lopez/AFP

A "great" Italian feat toppled Spain at Euro 2016, but Antonio Conte's touchline theatrics were just as dramatic for Italy and Chelsea fans during an emphatic 2-0 win over the defending champions.

Five essential Bud Spencer films to watch this weekend
Italian actor, Bud Spencer, passed away on Monday. Photo: Screenshot/YouTube

If you're looking to remember - or even discover - the delights of the late Bud Spencer's work, here are five films you should definitely watch.

Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
Gubbio (L) and Norcia (R). Photos: Angus Kirk/EricHuybrechts

Rome has a lot to offer, but if you're looking for variety or simply want a break away from the city, there's a treasure trove of towns within easy reach.

Euro 2016
Germany boss to banish Italy 'curse' in quarter-final clash
Germany coach Joachim Loew says Germany do not have an Italian 'curse'. Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP

Germany have lost their last eight matches to Italy at the knockout stages of major tournaments.

Bangladesh official charged over Italian's murder
Tavella's body leaves Bangladesh. Photo: Munir Az Zaman/AFP

The Italian aid worker was shot last September.

Brexit
Italy, Germany and France vow 'new impulse' for EU
In a joint statement, Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi have promised to reorder the EU. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP

"There is a great need to remodel the European project in the coming years."

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
Culture
Italian restaurant crowned the best in the world
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Ten breathtaking Italian gems you've never heard of
National
Eritrean held in Italy denies being trafficking kingpin
Health
Italian man 'turns French' after brain injury
Travel
Six reasons why South Tyrol will absolutely blow your mind
National
Why Italy's facing another tough summer
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Politics
Five reasons Rome's mayoral elections actually matter
Travel
Ten Airbnb apartments where you'll feel at home in Rome
Politics
Quiz: Silvio Berlusconi versus Donald Trump - who said it?
National
Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
Culture
Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
National
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
Travel
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
National
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
2,528
jobs available