Meet your guide in Venice’s Jewish Ghetto, a historical area in the Cannaregio neighborhood of the city. Many consider the area to be a little piece of authentic Venice, tucked away from the well-trodden tourist trail, where the streets resonate with the sounds of locals laughing and catching up on gossip.
Hear how the Jewish Ghetto was the first of its kind in the world, and how it served as the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, as you amble along its pretty streets. While the Jewish population in the ghetto reached a peak of 4,000 inhabitants by the mid-17th century, today Venice is home to around 500 Jews who live all over the city. The quarter still thrives as a spiritual and cultural center for Venice's Jewish community; synagogues and kosher restaurants are just a few of the sights seen, as well as a traditional open-air market, mask-making workshop and bustling independent shops.
After getting a feel for the area, check out three of the ghetto’s atmospheric bàcari. The venues visited are subject to change, but your guide knows the most interesting drinking dens in the area and will select bars based on their good food and wine, friendly atmosphere and décor — think of convivial bars straight out of Italian films with elegant, wine glass–lined brick and stone walls.
Inside each bar, enjoy a glass of ombra (Venetian slang for local wine) as well as plates of cicchetti — the tasty Venetian appetizers that are served all over the city. The dishes vary, but you can expert tantalizing offerings such as expertly seasoned meatballs, creamy cod mousse or colorful bruschetta. As you nibble on the tasty treats, hear insights from your guide about the local wine and learn about daily life in Venice.
Your tour finishes near Campo della Maddalena, leaving you ideally placed to return to the center independently or continue your night of eating and drinking in the area at your own expense.