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Where the word ghetto comes from

How the word ghetto became synonymous with segregation

June 24, 2024

The term "ghetto" finds its linguistic roots in Venice, Italy, tracing back to the Venetian dialect word "ghèto," meaning 'foundry.' The origin of the word has then nothing negative.


In 1516, the Venetian Republic established the world's first ghetto in the Cannaregio district, confining Jewish residents to that designated area.
The intent was to segregate and control the Jewish population, a practice that later spread to other European cities.

 
As the concept of ghettos expanded, they became synonymous with enforced segregation.

During the Counter-Reformation, Pope Paul IV implemented similar measures in Rome, and ghettos emerged in cities like Florence, Bologna, and Padua.
This institutionalized discrimination persisted for centuries.


The Jewish Ghetto of Verona, established in 1599, reflects this historical pattern.

Despite Italy's unification in the 19th century, the ghetto of Verona continued to exist until 1866.
The bronze bar that now lies  where the walls that once confined the Jewish community stood, is as a poignant reminder of a complex past.

Today, the area preserves its rich history, with a synagogue offering insight into the challenges faced by the Jewish population over the centuries.

The Jewish district of Verona encapsulates this narrative, standing as both a testament to resilience and a symbol of the ongoing quest for inclusion and understanding.

 Take a tour with us to discover the landmarks of the Jewish Heritage in Verona.

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