The Venice Ghetto, 500 Years of Life

About The Film

Imaginative docu-fiction techniques bring alive the paradoxical wonders of Europe’s oldest Jewish ghetto and its integration into Italian society, in this edifying and heartwarming film.

Dating back to the medieval era, THE VENICE GHETTO, 500 YEARS OF LIFE recounts its tale through the eyes of its fictional character Lorenzo (Laurence Olivieri), a Jewish teenager from New York sent to Venice to learn about his mother’s family origins. The boy is joined by his aunt (Sandra Toffolatti) and young cousins who serve as tour guides in reliving the glories and tribulations of the Venetian Jewish community. Scholars recall various turning points and consequential figures in the ancient lagoon city’s complex evolution, as well as the rich and eclectic panoply of language and culture, daily life and rituals, and architectural landmarks of the Venetian Jewish quarter. Lorenzo’s journey of discovery is also depicted by exquisite animation that colorfully reconstructs historical events.

A gateway to understanding Jewish heritage, this special commemorative film project is produced as part of a larger initiative to mark the quincentennial anniversary since the establishment of the Jewish Venetian Ghetto in March 1516.

Film Details

Running Time 
54 minutes
Viewing Region 
North American Premiere