Foreign Communities in Venice

Venice was defined 'The pearl of the Adriatic sea'.  It was the most important commercial hub for merchants coming from the North of Europe, from the Middle and Far East. Foreign merchants, having their own cultures and religions considered this international city the proper place to work and live.

Venice has always been a cosmopolitan city, where different people and cultures have continuously met, where tolerance has always been considered the only possible way to preserve the political, economic and social system of the city.
Quite frequently the names of alleys, campi, buildings offer the possibility to spot the presence of foreign communities in the past centuries: Calle dei Albanesi (the Albanians’street), San Giorgio dei Greci (the area named after St. George of the Greeks), Fondamenta dei Furlani (the bank along the canal where the community from the Friuli region used to live), Scuola degli Schiavoni (the building that used to host the Slavic, or Dalmatian, Confraternity)… these are just few denominations that you can find in the Castello district. But also all the other districts witnessed the presence of permanent foreign communities: from the Jewish Ghetto to the Turkish and to the German Storehouses; from the street of the German shoemakers to the building of the Albanian confraternity, which was once decorated with precious canvases by Carpaccio.
Moreover, close to churches or even inside, these foreign communities would decorate at their own expenses several chapels, as for example the chapels of the Florentines and of the Milanese in the Frari church). But even more frequent are the traces of the oriental culture: it is quite surprising to find on the façades of several houses bas-reliefs of camels or of merchants wearing turbans. And you can also hear stories of the Far Est as you visit the courtyard where Marco Polo’s houses were…

Time: 2 hours

Notes: The fare does not include entrance fees. When visiting religious buildings, an appropriate dress code has to be observed (no bare shoulders, no miniskirts, no shorts). The fare for groups has to be agreed with the guide.