GEMS of NORTHERN ITALY RIVER CRUISE 2022
Land Tours Included In Your All-Inclusive River Cruise Holiday!
Venice – Verona – Padua – Chioggia – Ferrara – Murano – Burano & The Venice Lagoon
Exclusive Access to Sites & People of Italy & Jewish Italy Only We Can Bring you!
Encounter unforgettable sights on this odyssey through Northern Italy that begins and ends in legendary Venice, the “Queen of the Adriatic.” Our exploration of Northern Italy rewards the curious traveler with amazing experiences rich in Jewish history & heritage in Verona, Padua, and Venice. Unlike any other tour vacation, you will be treated to exclusive tours and in-depth interaction with local Jewish communities. Discover the charm of seaside Chioggia loved by fishermen and artists alike. Explore medieval Ferrara and Padua, once home to Galileo and Copernicus; Verona, the famed city of Romeo and Juliet and magical Venice. Each of these enchanting locales is yours to uncover filled with over 2000 years of Jewish history and heritage brought to life on the Kosher River Cruises the “Gems of Northern Italy.”
Cruise & Tour Itinerary
Day 1 Monday: Venice Embarkation
Arrive Venice and board the luxurious River Countess. Afternoon welcome reception, orientation and a welcome cruise along Venice’s magical Giudecca Canal to San Marco, enjoy a welcome cocktail on the top deck with Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Canal Grande as your backdrop followed by dinner.
Day 2: Tuesday: Venice
Venice is the capital of the north-Italian region of Veneto. Its historic core lies on islands of a shallow lagoon while the newer parts of the city were built on a vast bank. Hoping to escape marauding Huns goths and vandals as the Roman empire collapsed in the fifth century refugees built a little settlement they call Venice on tiny islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. By the 12th-century Venice was the wealthiest and most powerful city state in Europe, controlling the Mediterranean all European trade with the East. It’s merchant-aristocrats lavish their wealth on palaces and churches, art and music, creating a city that is truly like no other. Now, seawater laps at the foot of thousand-year-old houses and sometimes rises above the door steps but the glorious palaces and romantic canals enchant visitors just as they have for centuries. Today you will embark on your own personal voyage of discovery through this enchanting city. Our expert guides will show you iconic sites as well as quiet lanes and secret spots only known to locals.
Venice also has one of the most important European Jewish communities. The famous Jewish Quarter in the Cannaregio gave the world the word “Ghetto“ (meaning “foundry“ in Venetian). Historically, Venice always belonged to the maritime and trading power in the Eastern Mediterranean and was always in contact with foreign cultures. They were one of the few states that tolerated the Jews. After the mass expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497, many of them settled here, followed by Jews from Germany, Bohemia, Poland, and Austria. At the beginning of the 16th century, anti-Semitism was at its pinnacle, resulting in the Jews of Venice being ordered tby the Doge to move out from the city in 1516. They were assigned to a small neglected island called Ghetto Nuovo (New Foundry). The word “Ghetto” was created by the Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews pronouncing the word. Venetian soldiers guarded the perimeter of the Ghetto on boats, closing the gates every evening. Later, Jewish residents were allowed to expand to two other enclaves, creating “Ghetto Vecchio” and “Ghetto Nuovissima”. In the past, over 5,000 people lived here in a very small area and very crowded neighborhoods which were accessible only via bridges. Five synagogues were established, a number of yeshivot and printing houses. The Jewish printing press became world-famous. Rabbis Meir Katzenellenbogen and Leon of Modena are amongst the finest Jewish scholars and personalities associated with Venice. Jews of Venice were only granted full civic rights in 1866 after the reunification of the Italian Republic. Nowadays, Jewish Venice has some of the most famous Jewish quarters of the world, proudly competing with the fame of those in Prague, Paris or Cracow. The city still boasts five historic synagogues, a kindergarten, school, yeshiva, and Jewish Museum and kosher shops, serving the Venetian Jewish specialty, the “Dolci Ebraici“ sweets.
Featured Excursions & Highlights
Venice walking discovery tour beginning with morning private tour at Doge’s Palace
Afternoon Jewish Venice
Afternoon Lecture Program
Optional St. Marks Basilica evening private tour and guided walk around Venice
Day 3: Wednesday: Verona
A full day tour exploring the beautiful UNESCO-designated Renaissance city of Verona, an ancient center for the arts that once rivaled Medici Florence, and rich with Jewish history & heritage.
VERONA (day tour)
Verona is an ancient and famous city on the Adige river in Northern Italy. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy owing to its artistic heritage, including, the ancient amphitheater built by the Romans. Two of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.
Besides setting the scene for Romeo and Juliet, Verona is also the site of many important Jewish landmarks. The first stop is the city’s ghetto, whose main street was Via Portici. In 1638 the Corte Spagnole was a narrow alley for the Sephardic Jews. The streets here have kept their original appearance and you will notice the buildings have arcades and projecting roofs. At the heart of the ghetto is the German rites synagogue, which was opened in 1864. The present entrance is at no. 3 Via Portici. The complicated façade with its three vertical parts and false towers as well as the portal with its pillars full of images of Jewish symbols are a museum piece by themselves! The prayer room is furnished with oriental-like decorations, lush details and inlaid stonework and the wall with the holy ark is particularly beautiful. Of note is the richly decorated vaulted ceiling. Verona’s Jewish cemetery, located at Via Antonio Badile, dates back to 1855 replacing two earlier burial sites, the first of which dated from Middle Ages. In 1600, the Jews of Verona were probably the only Jews on the peninsula to actually celebrate the establishment of a ghetto, after the long and arduous negotiations about how to distribute the dwellings and shops. Jews here lived for 100 years under Venetian rule when the ghetto was established, and they were finally granted permission to stay and settle in the city. The first Jews here were German rites Jews followed in 1638 by Sephardim Jews from Venice and Marranos from Spain in 1655. In 1675 the two groups came together to build a synagogue and join their rites. At that time, 900 people lived in the quarter. In 1797 the doors of the ghetto were taken down by the French and later put up again during restoration of the monarchy and the return to Austrian rule. In 1864 the community numbered 1400 members and opened the synagogue which is still in use. In 1866 Jews gained emancipation through the annexation of the Veneto to the Kingdom of Italy. Nowadays, Verona has a small but vibrant Jewish community, proud of its both Jewish past and presence.
Featured Excursions & Highlights
Full day tour Verona
Late Afternoon Lecture Program
Ferrara & Chioggia
Day 4: Thursday: Ferrara & Chioggia
This morning we explore the beautiful UNESCO-designated Renaissance city of Ferrara, an ancient center for the arts that once rivaled Medici Florence, and rich with Jewish history & heritage.
Ferrara: Ferrara is a town in Northern Italy, capital of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 44 kilometres (27 miles) northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River. The town has broad streets and numerous palaces dating from the Renaissance, when it hosted the court of the House of Este. For its beauty and cultural importance, it has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Jewish community of Ferrara, which has a continuous presence from the Middle Ages to the present day, played an important role when Ferrara enjoyed its greatest splendor in the 15th and 16th century, with the duke Ercole I d’Este. The Jewish settlement, located in three streets forming a triangle near the cathedral, became a ghetto in 1627. Apart from a few years under Napoleon and during the 1848 revolution, the ghetto lasted until Italian unification in 1859. The synagogue “Scuola Tedesca” – the “German Shul” – is the only surviving representative of the several synagogues that once flourished in Ferrara. It is located in the historic Jewish community building built in 1485, which once housed two other synagogues, destroyed by fascists during World War II. Nowadays it is home to Ferrara’s small but active Jewish community numbering several hundred.
Chioggia: This afternoon, you’ll admire the greatest sites of charming and coastal Chioggia; sometimes called “Little Venice” at the southern end of the lagoon. This picturesque fishing village is a popular place for artists where the seaside air and sweeping views are simply spectacular. In Chioggia, Enjoy a stop at the local markets where you’ll shop with the chef. Climb aboard a bragozzo for a ride through the canals or opt for more active exploration with a bike tour along the harbor and out to the beach before heading back to the ship. Arrive later in the evening back into Venice and cap off the day with an exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experience at an after-hours lighting ceremony outside of St. Mark’s Basilica without the crowds (optional entrance into the basilica).
Ferrara city tour
Option 1: Bragozzo (small boat) guided canal ride
Option 2: Chioggia by bike
Padua / Burano
Day 5: Friday: Padua / Burano
This today we depart to explore the picturesque city of Padua.
Padua is an ancient city in Northern Italy, on the Bacchiglione River, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Venice and 29 km (18 miles) southeast of Vicenza. It hosts the University of Padua, founded in 1222, where Galileo Galilei was a lecturer. The city is picturesque, with a dense network of arcaded streets opening into large communal piazza, and many bridges crossing the various branches of the Bacchiglione, which once surrounded the ancient walls like a moat. Padua is the setting for most of the action in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The Jewish community of Padova belongs to one of the oldest in Italy. Museo della Padova Ebraica (Museum of Jewish Padova) is sited in the former “German” synagogue, Sinagoga Tedesca, used by the Ashkenazic community, which was inaugurated in 1525 in the heart of the Jewish quarter, or ghetto, in the city’s historic center. Other sites of Jewish heritage in the city include a 16th century Italian rite synagogue, which is still used by the small, approx. 170 members of the Jewish community, and a Jewish cemetery dating from the 16th century — and the oldest of the five Jewish cemeteries in the city.
Walking discovery of the old town & Jewish quarter
Afternoon lecture program
Scenic sailing with commentary
Shabbat in Burano
Day 6: Shabbat Burano
Spend a leisurely Shabbat on-board with new and old friends.
- Optional walking tour
The Magic Islands of Venice – Lido, Murano, Burano & Giudecca
Day 7: Sunday: The Magic Islands of Venice
This day you will exploring the artisan Island of Burano & Muarno & the Jewish cemetery at the Lido
This morning we explore the famous Lido Jewish Cemetery: In 1386 the Venetian Republic granted its Jewish community land for a cemetery at San Nicolò on the Lido, the thin strip of land separating the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. The cemetery was gradually enlarged and eventually enclosed, for both aesthetic and protective reasons, by a tall hedge. The community within the Ghetto Nuovo consisted of immigrants and refugees from a wide geographic area. After 1492 and the expulsion of the Jewish community from Spain, many Jewish families from the Iberian peninsula arrived in Venice. As a result, there are a variety of tombstone engravings, with inscriptions in Hebrew, Spanish and Portuguese, often denoting country of origin; stone-carved coats of arms or family emblems, like the jug and basin or blessing hands also indicate genealogical provenance. Similarly, stylistic differences in the gravestones’ architecture reflect their dates of construction, earlier markers tending to be less elaborate and later ones, like the sarcophagi favored in the 18th century, being more ornately decorated.
The Magic Islands of Venice: Burano, Murano & Giudecca
Venice is an island surrounded by hundreds of smaller islands, two of which you will visit today – Burano, famous for its lace-makers and houses painted in eye-popping colors. We will sail past Murano with commentary then on to Venice and Giudecca, renowned for its long tradition of glass-making. Here guests will have the opportunity to learn about and shop for original and authentic world-famous Murano glass.
Friday evening prepare for a magical Shabbat on-board as Venice glitters in the background
Lido Cemetery tour
Murano sailing with commentary
Giudecca excursion with factory visit
Afternoon lecture program
Day 8: Monday: Disembark
Disembark the ship with departure transfer to Venice Marco Polo International Airport for your flight home.
*Please note itinerary is subject to change
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