The Historical places of Armenian Venice: Ruga Giuffa
In the second half of the sixteenth century the number of Armenians in Venice was very high.
They had originally come from Asia Minor or from Cilicia, from Costantinople, from Syria or from Azerbaigan.
However those are the years of the arrival in the city of immigrants coming mainly from Giulfa, an Armenian city under the rule of the Persian Empire, whose international trade was particularly flourishing.
The people coming from Giulfa to Venice settled mainly in Ruga Giuffa, which starts from Santa Maria Formosa and goes as far as Calle della Corona and Salizada Zorzi.
The name Giuffa given by the Venetians to this street comes exactly from the period of the Armenian settling.
Ruga Giuffa became very soon an important commercial area, always crowded and rich with various shops that could stay open day and night and that had lodgings and warehouses for luxury goods on the above floors.
Nearly half- way along Ruga Giuffa it is still possible to see an enlargement where a money-changer and an insurance office used to be. In fact a great amount of business and capitals was flowing from Ruga Giuffa to San Giovanni Nuovo, the parts of the city inhabited by Armenian families as well as by rich Venetian families.
The Armenian traders of Ruga Giuffa imported silk, cotton, linen, wool, fabric dyes from the East being these the raw materials needed by the textile Venetians manufacture
The business turnover was very high and soon involved tapestries, carpets, pearls, corals and jewels.
So it can be observed that although in the seventeenth century the native city of these immigrants was meeting its tragic ending, first under the raids of the Turks and later under the attacks of the Persian Shah , on the other side the community of Ruga Giuffa was living a golden age in its new home, Venice.