Giudecca is one of the Venice islands that visitors to the city will do well to keep in mind. This tranquil Venetian Lagoon island and working-class neighborhood got its start as a fishing village in and around 500 AD. It later transformed into a rather upscale enclave in the 1800s, thanks to the addition of luxurious homes. Subsequent to that, the Industrial Age saw the building of shipyards and factories on Giudecca Island, and even a movie studio was eventually established here. Today, Giudecca, which is technically a grouping of several small islands, offers a less crowded and less touristy atmosphere than the main areas of Venice and is very easy to navigate by foot.
Situated just south of the central islands of Venice, Giudecca offers wonderful views of the Venice skyline, which is a major reason to venture over for a look around. An eclectic place, Giudecca has other sights to see as well, including the Santissimo Redentore Church. Add in the Giudecca accommodation options and the island’s relative proximity to the Piazza San Marco, and it becomes even more clear that this is a destination that is not to be overlooked when dropping in on one of Europe’s most romantic cities.
Giudecca is linked to other Venice islands by canals and bridges. To get there, most visitors take a vaporetto – the Italian name for a water taxi or waterbus. You can catch a vaporetto to Giudecca from one of four different stops on the main island of Venice. These stops include Zitelle, Redentore, Palanca, and Sacca Fisole. It’s about a three-minute ride out to Giudecca, and there are splendid Venice views to savor along the way of course. Special Venice tourist passes offer discounted rates for vaporetto rides, it should be noted. Such passes include the ACTV Tourist Travel Card and the Venezia Unica Tourist Pass. The waterbus routes are known to change from time to time in Venice, so it is a good idea to get up to date info when possible.
Santissimo Redentore Church
Santissimo Redentore Church
Venice, like so many other European cities, is home to numerous churches that offer beauty, cultural insight and historical context. One such church is the Santissimo Redentore Church. Known locally as the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore, or more simply as Il Redentore, this lovely structure dates back to the 16th century. It was built in large part as a showing of gratitude to God for deliverance from an outbreak of the plague that killed approximately 30 percent of Venice’s population. The Santissimo Redentore Church is the spiritual hub of Giudecca, and it dominates the island’s skyline. As a side note, the neighboring island of San Giorgio Maggiore has some fine religious monuments of its own that are worth examining. These monuments include the San Giorgio Monastery (established in 982 AD) and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore (completed in 1610 AD).
Giudecca Hotels Image: (c) Hilton Hotels 2014
For travelers who are interested in staying on one of the Venice islands, Giudecca is a good place to start a search for accommodations. The Giudecca hotels include a youth hostel and a handful of other hotels, including the Cipriani Hotel. The Cipriani is arguably one of Europe’s finest hotels, offering levels of comfort and service to appease the most discerning travelers. Another Giudecca hotel that is worthy of mention is the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice (pictured). This upscale retreat occupies a Neo-Gothic building that was once the largest building in the city, and its rooftop pool offers what just might be the best views in Venice.