This quiet, overgrown garden was Venice’s main Jewish cemetery from 1386 until the 18th century. It fell into disuse after the establishment of a new cemetery on Via Cipro. The tombstones were rediscovered by construction workers in the 1920s and it was decided to set them in some sort of order. They range in design from Venetian Gothic to distinctly Ottoman, and many of them bear decorations dramatically at variance with Jewish Orthodoxy.
Nor are the lions those of St Mark or Judah; they are the lions of Castile and León, brought to Venice on the armorials of Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain by the Grand Inquisitor in 1492. Tours must be pre-booked with the Museo Ebraico .