Intellectual Tourism

The travel industry dictionary describes Intellectual Tourism as recreational travel undertaken solely or primarily for educational purposes.intellectual tourism. To provide this type of experience, there are several important aspects. First, the presenters must be experts or scholars in their fields. Second, the experience must go far beyond the norm. At Via Nissa we focus on intellectual travel. Let us give …

The upper and the lower section of Nice

In 1543 Nice attacked and taken by the joint French and Turkish troops, yet the Castle resisted. This is the time of the legendary Catherine Ségurane, who found back the invaders encouraging the city’s defenders. After this occurred, Duke of Savoy Emmanuel-Philibert made substantial changes to the defenses of the city and moved the upper section of the town to …

Where does the word “quarantine” come from?

Hard to resist a little history at these challenging times. As the Plague moved through Europe in 1348, the Venetian authorities closed the ports to ships coming from plague-infested areas. All travelers were forced into 30 day isolation. This was later extended to 40 days, which is where the word “quarantine” comes from. But it actually can also be traced …

Who are “The Pope’s Jews”?

In 1269, the Jews who were living in Carpentras were expelled by the Bishop of Carpentras. In 1275, a papal enquiry was carried out to find out what happened. The conflict apparently arose when certain lords of the Comtat tried to force these Jews to contribute to the levy of a subsidy to finance the Crusade, which they refused to …

Sinagoga di Cherasco

This is the orthodox Jewish synagogue in Cherasco, one of sixteen in the Piedmont region which remain. The Piedmont region was chosen by a number of Jewish families when they were expelled from France in 1394. Many of the same families came to Nice. The history of the Piedmont synagogues is little known, but their history is fascinating and their …

Coronavirus in Genoa

This is the Vico di Untoria, located in the heart of the Jewish ghetto of the “Lanterna” in Genoa. The empty hollow above the sign once contained a crucifix. Untoria in English means, “plague carrier” and it was the name given to the street which ran through the 17th century ghetto making no mistake in identitifying who was responsible for …

Menorah. Why 7 branches?

Hidden in a private cellar on the rue Benoit Bunico, the former Jewish ghetto in Nice, which may date back to the 15th century, well before the ghetto of Venice, has been found an ancient Menorah carved into a rock placed into the wall. When most people think of a Menorah, they think of what is really something else, a …

The Grand Synagogue and the Nazis

This is the Grand Synagogue in Nice. It was built in 1885 and dedicated in 1886. When the Nazis first came to occupy Nice it was September 8, 1943. A quick look at the calendar shows that Yom Kippur in 1943 began on September 9. Knowing that the Jews of Nice would be at the synagogue on their most holy …

Diasporic Jews in Marseille

The story of Diasporic Jews is a long one. A people whom history has sent into exile from their place of origin. They ended up on unfamiliar ground and adapted their lives. They spoke their host’s language, wear his clothes, adapted his food and use his architectural vocabulary to build their houses and their synagogues, yet all the while they …

Niche Heritage and Cultural Tourism

At Via Nissa, we concentrate the bulk of our non-research efforts on what we might call small-scale specialty tourism or niche heritage and cultural tourism.  Our focus on minority groups, such as Jewish history which has become our most frequently requested visit lately, such to the point that we are expanding to Jewish Marseille and eventually into the Jewish Piedmont …