Following the rout of Agnadello in 1509, many people fled to the islands, fearing the arrival of the soldiers. Among them were many Jews who opened textile and rag shops near Rialto. Problems such as the imposition of a huge tax to fund the war against the Pope and the Emperor left the Jews with nowhere to live, and in 1516 they were forced to move to the area surrounding the old foundries near San Girolamo. The word ghetto is in fact derived from the Italian word getto which means to cast, or to throw. The hard "g" was only added later, by the Germans, when ghettos were introduced in Germany. The city never really approved of the creation of the ghetto, considering it intolerant and exclusive. Many Jews were moneylenders and this cash was important for commerce; many were excellent doctors and well-respected in the community. Eventually the law was ignored and Jews were integrated into city life once more.
Attractions & Landmarks
- Nearest Train: ACTV 1 San Marcuola