Hidden treasures

The Red Bench in the Ghetto of Venice

Unknown places & works
Banco_Rosso

The Red Bench in the Ghetto of Venice

Always in the collective imagination, thanks to a famous play by William Shakespeare's ‘The Merchant of Venice', the Jews are seen as moneylenders full of money and greedy. In reality, not everyone knows that from the Middle Ages they were forced to be moneylenders, due to the laws that were imposed in the countries in which they resided and because the Church considered it a sin to lend money at interest.

 

In Venice, where the first Ghetto in the world was created, there were three banks where it was possible to bind an object in exchange for a cash loan. Jewish money lenders are documented in Venice during the fourteenth century, but their regulation occurred in the course of the fifteenth century when the Ghetto was established. In fact, it was also the state that initiated the activity of these banks in order to have fewer poor to support.

These three banks, the red, green and black, survived until the end of the Republic (1797), and thereafter their memory was lost. Fortunately, today you can again visit one of these banks, the Red Bank, which has recently been restored and is now open to visitors. Its name is derived from the red receipt that customers received when they pawned an item, and which leads one to consider if the term banking "in the red", derives precisely from this old Venetian pawnbroker.

If you want to learn more and visit this ancient place go to www.bancorosso.org.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: 'Duri i banchi!': the meaning of a famous motto in Venice

duri-i-banchi
Figures of speech

The Venetians are a people of workers, proud and deeply attached to their city, and for these reasons, they never surrender to hardship...

View

Venice: Coronavirus is not (fortunately) Venice’s new plague

peste
Historical Curiosities

As recently as a month ago the Coronavirus or COVID-19 started to affect our lives causing much disruption. It appeared precisely in ou...

View

Venice: History of the Queen of Venice Carnival: Frittella!

Frittelle_di_carnevale
Local Traditions

It is Carnival time...and what could be better than biting into a soft and tasty Venetian frittella? Frittella, ‘fritoea or fritola...

View

Venice: The legend of Melusina and the stone heart of Sotoportego dei Preti

Melusina
Mysteries & Legends

February: the feast of lovers is approaching and you are thinking of relishing magical experiences together with your better half in Ve...

View

Top posts

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

casone-millecampi-detto-casone-dei-sette-morti
Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...

View

Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

cuore-erizzo
Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...

View

Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

mappa-venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...

View

Verona: The roman walls of Verona

porta-borsari
Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...

View