Lady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil is set in Venice…travel always wakes up Caroline’s muse.
Islands pepper the well known Venetian lagoon, but canals and rivulets divide within the city proper into islands as well. Venice set aside one of those islands, site of a copper foundry, as the Jewish quarter 501 years ago. I toured it in fascination during my rambles a few years ago; I went back the next day. The Venetian Ghetto was and continues to be a vibrant center of Jewish culture.
Though confined to their own quarter, Venetian Jews enjoyed relatively more freedom than they did in other parts of Europe—if being relieved from the threat of forced conversion (such as they faced in Rome or Spain in the 1500s) or pogroms (such as took place in Germany and elsewhere) can be considered freedom. The resulting influx of people swelled…
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