This small bridge across the Rio di San Girolamo seems innocuous enough, though the steel construction looks slightly wrong as most of the city’s ponti are built in stone and brick.

Historically though this spot had greater significance.  The composition of a city from dozens of islands linked by bridges facilitates the isolation of one or other part of the city, and here that became reality.  The sign on the wall of the building tells you why; this bridge is one of those linking the island where the Jews of the city were curfewed; and many points of access were walled up. (And now Israel builds her own walls)

The Jewish population of the island could come and go only through two special gates, which were guarded at night, must wear identifying clothing, and were only permitted certain trades.  One of these was metal working, and there were two foundries here; which gave rise to the term Ghetto; Ghet being the word for slag.

Venezia-6

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