Dana E. Katz, Ph.D. The Joshua C. Taylor Associate Professor of Art History and Humanities, Reed College
In 1581, Francesco Sansovino wrote in his guidebook to Venice that Jews “prefer to live in Venice rather than in any other part of Italy. Since they are not subject to violence or tyranny here as they are elsewhere … reposing in most singular peace, they enjoy this city almost like a true promised land.” As Sansovino suggested, the ghetto offered Jews the opportunity to live in Venice without the fear of physical violence and dwell with relative security, but this security came at a prodigious cost. The ghetto was a compulsory housing complex in which Venetian authorities locked Jews at night and submitted them to continual surveillance. Katz explores the spaces of the ghetto to offer a broader view of life in Venice during its Golden Age.
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