Wine Tours from Venice
In the hills around the villages of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, you will enter a magical world: the land of Prosecco. Tidy rows of vineyards set amidst historic villages are the scenic backdrop for this full day excursion: we will visit two wineries that produce some of the best prosecco, this Italian sparkling white wine - often called Italian champagne due to its crisp, bubbly taste .
Jewish Heritage Tour of Venice
The world's first ghetto was the walled quarter Venice created for its Jews in the 16th century.
After their expulsion from Spain following the culmination of the Reconquista in 1492, many Jews wandered Europe searching for new homes.
Great trading centers like Venice were a natural magnet, since most careers in the late medieval European economy were closed to Jews but there was one major one that was not.
Jews often operated as moneylenders in medieval Europe. (This anonymous French illumination of c.1270 shows that the stereotype of a greedy, hooked-nose Jew—he's on the far right—goes way back.)
In fact, Jews could perform one vital mercantile task that was forbidden to observant Christians in the late Middle Ages.
Jews had done business in Venice since at least the 10th century, but for centuries the Republic went back and forth on whether it actually wanted to allow them to settle in the city.
These days, Venice is home only to an estimated 500–600 Jews, of which only 30 or so still live in the historic Ghetto.
The ghetto remains, however, the focal point of Jewish life in Venice, with two operating synagogues, a Jewish library, day school, kosher food shops, a Jewish bakery, and—this being Venice, after all—a glass shop selling tiny glass rabbis and glass Hanukkah lamps.
There's also the small Museo Ebraico, or Jewish Museum (a.k.a. the Museo della Comunità Ebraica, or Museo of the Jewish Community), with a collection of 16th– to 19th-century artifacts (tel. +39-041-715-359 www.museoebraico.it). It is open Sun-Fri: June-Sept 10am–7pm, Oct-May 10am–5:30pm.
The museum offers excellent guided tours, in Italian and English, of the neighborhood and several of its synagogues, usually the following three: Scola Canton (Ashkenazi), Scola Levantina (Sephardic), and Scola Italiana (Italian)—though some tours (and special visits) also take you into the beautiful Scola Ponentina or Scola Spagnola (Spanish).