Jewish Museum in Venice To Be Restored

To mark its 500th anniversary, the Jewish Museum in Venice will undergo a $12 million restoration project focused on the museum and three of the Jewish Quarter’s five synagogues, to be completed in 2016. The Venetian Heritage Council announced the project on Monday, supported by its chair Joseph Sitt, vice chair Diane von Furstenberg, and director Toto Bergamo Rossi.
Venice’s Jewish Quarter dates back to 1516, when the Republic of Venice forced Jews to move to a certain area of the city, and residents remained confined to the area until Napoleon conquered Venice in 1797. The result, a rich history and culture, has survived for 500 years, but the Jewish Ghetto and its structures have fallen into disrepair.

“This is a project long overdue and hugely important to European and Jewish identity. There are 500 years of cultural and religious importance residing within this community and it’s imperative that we revive and revitalize it,” said Sitt.

During the project, overseen by architect Renata Codello, the superintendent for architectural and landscape heritage of Venice, the buildings’ walls and structural elements will be repaired, and decorative elements such as gilded, Biblical wood carvings will be restored. The restoration will also improve traffic flow in the museum.

“In addition to the structural revitalization of the synagogues, we are vastly improving and upgrading the museum space, adding space and streamlining room-to-room flow to accommodate the incredible interest in this piece of history. This is a huge component of European culture and it can’t be ignored,”  Rossi explained. — Elaine Murphy