A Private Tour of Jewish Bologna

A Private Tour of Jewish Bologna

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$ 120

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    For Groups of 15 or more, please contact our GoTo Crew.

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      Bologna, Italy
      3 Hours
      From (USD)
      $ 120
      • Jewish landmarks: See the Courtyard of Ghilisardi Palace, Bocchi Palace, St. Stephens Square, the Two Towers, the Pavaglione portico, and other sites important to Bologna's Judaic history.
      • Jewish Museum: Visit the award-winning Museo Ebraico, opened in 1999 to share the thousand-year heritage of Jewish life in Emilia Romagna through furnishings, religious artifacts, sacred books, and interactive media.
      • Small group = more personal: Share your experience with only people you know; enjoy the luxury of deeper interaction with your guide and a more flexible itinerary.  

      Meeting point

      Please meet in the lobby of your downtown-area hotel or a nearby central location. Let us know the name of your hotel/preferred meeting location when you reserve this tour so we know where to meet you. Your guide will be holding a GoBe sign with your name.

      Helpful hints

      Program includes the service of a private licensed local guide, entrance fees to Jewish Museum and all required reservations.

      Getting around

      Travelers must be able to walk approximately 1.5 miles over varying surfaces with steps and inclines. This tour is not suitable for travelers with limited mobility.

      Activity type

      Walking Tour, Cultural, Scenic

      Included amenities



      English, Italian

      Tour ID


      Tour Participation Requirements

      Activity Level

      This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.

      Age restrictions

      Suitable for children ages 6 years or older as they may find 3 hours of walking/standing difficult.

      Special Medical Restriction

      Participants must be in good health, disclose their physical fitness and advise any conditions that might impact their participation in the tour.

      The Jewish presence in Bologna goes back as far as the 4th century, perhaps further. Over the centuries since, Jewish fortunes (and freedoms) have waxed and waned as rulers and popes changed. By the 14th century, Bologna's Jews shared a generally peaceful coexistence with the larger population, prospering in commerce, medicine, banking, and textiles, maintaining ancient traditions at home and in 11 synagogues, and printing news and sacred texts on Hebrew printing presses.

      But in May of 1556, a bull from Pope Paul IV changed all that. Jews were now forced to live in a walled ghetto that was locked at nightfall, with its entrances strictly monitored. By 1569 they were completely expelled from the city, their cemetery confiscated and its tombstones destroyed.

      Despite a brief return late in the 1580s, Jews remained excluded from the city until the 1790s. Only after Napoleon's conquering army arrived in Bologna in 1797 were Jews allowed to return. No longer officially confined to their quarter, they started anew and slowly began to resurrect their fractured history here. On this private tour, you'll trace the historic ghetto's layout as it winds through narrow streets in the city's medieval heart.

      The main drag is still known as Via De' Giudei, where the bell tower of imposing San Bartolomeo church made sure that Jewish residents would know when Mass was being held. Nearby, and true to its name, the Via dell'Inferno was narrower and sometimes dangerous – but held the important Buratti House, site of one of the ghetto's most prominent synagogues.

      On a side street nearby, the Jewish Museum of Bologna contains exhibits that tell the story of Jewish presence in Bologna and Emilia Romagna in moving detail via multiple media.

      But in some ways, the story is told even more poignantly at Bocchi Palace, built in 1546 by a writer with humanist beliefs. Across its front base, the only Hebrew inscription on a monumental building in Europe is prominently chiseled. It quotes a verse from the Book of Psalms:

      Deliver me from the liars, God! They smile so sweetly but lie through their teeth.

      Out of the ghetto

      Theories vary as to who coined the word ghetto. Some say its roots are Venetian (that city had the first recorded Jewish ghetto in 1516); others say it's based on Yiddish, Latin, even German or French. One thing everyone agrees on: The forced separation of Jews within a designated quarter peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, after a string of Papal edicts laid the groundwork for the idea. By the 19th century, most of Europe's ghettos had disappeared – until the Nazis brought them back again in the 20th, with more in mind than mere separation. 

      Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.


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      Bologna, Italy
      Bologna, Italy
      Great photo opportunities
      Bring photo ID
      Bring money
      Bring water
      Wear comfortable shoes
      Wear Hat
      Wear Sunglasses

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      General disclaimer

      Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.

      To book this tour for a large group, visit ourGROUPS PAGE for special discounted group rates