VENICE, Italy -- The trail of Europe's restored Jewish heritage
sites includes Lido in Venice, where guided tours of an ancient
cemetery that had been abandoned for two centuries were introduced
The cemetery holds the remains of prominent Jews who lived
during the 17th century in the city's Jewish ghetto, which was
established in 1516 as the first ghetto in the world.
According to Aldo Izzo, who is an expert on Venice's Jewish
history, the most renowned Jews buried in the cemetery are Rabbi
Leon da Modena (1571 to 1648), whose autobiography was translated
into English in 1980 by the Princeton University Press; Sara Coppio
Sullam, one of the ghetto's leading poets, who died in 1641, and
Elia Levita (1469 to 1549), an Ashkenazic linguist.
In 1774, another cemetery, which is still in use, was
established in the adjacent area, and the original cemetery was
Several of the original cemetery's grave markers date from the
1400s; the oldest gravestone was dated 1389.
Land for the cemetery was given to the Jews in 1386.
Of all the Jewish cemeteries in Europe, only one, in Worms,
Germany, has older tombstones, according to a spokeswoman for the
New York-based Steven H. and Alida Brill Scheuer Foundation, which
made the key gift that made the restoration of the cemetery
One-and-a-half-hour tours of the cemetery are given year-round
on Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
During the summer, tours are offered on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m.
and Fridays at 10:30 a.m.
Tours can be combined with visits to the Jewish Museum of Venice
and the Jewish Ghetto.
The cost of a tour is about $6 per person. Private tours can be
arranged by appointment, starting at about $66 per person.
For tour information, contact the Jewish Museum of Venice at
(011) 39-041 715-359.
Izzo also conducts a two-hour tour by appointment, which can be
tailored to specific interests and includes both cemeteries.
The cost of this tour is about $150.
For more information, contact Izzo directly at (011) 39-041
526-6249, or write him at Via Jacopo Nani, 29A, 30126, Lido di
Venezia, Venice, Italy.
For tourist information on Venice's Jewish history and
community, visit the Jewish Venice Web site at www.jewishvenice.org.