Tourist Guide Venice

Giudecca Island

Giudecca Island is located only a few minutes drive by Vaporetto (waterbus) from Saint Mark’s Square in the south of Venice. There are many reasons not to miss out a trip to this island when visiting Venice. One of the main reasons is obvious – it provides the most famous view over the entire city. Nowhere else will one obtain such a view over Doge’s Palace, Saint Mark’s Square, the votive church Santa Maria della Salute and the entrance to the Grand Canal.

Once one has satisfied their appetite and seen enough of the first reason one can turn their back on the Bacino and explore the island itself. It is small – measuring only approximately two kilometres in length and some 300 metres in width. For this manageable area La Giudecca has amazing things to offer and aside from this it has often featured in German literature. The most impressive building on the island is without doubt the ‘Il Redentore’ (Church of the most holy Redeemeer). The architect of this balanced structure is no other than Andrea Palladio who began its construction in the 16th Century. Just like the church – Santa Maria della Salute that lies opposite, ‘Il Redentore’ is also a votive church that marked the end of a plague epidemic. In addition on La Giudecca one will find ‘Sant Eufemia’ – one of the oldest churches in Venice that dates back to the 9th century. The third of the sacral churches is the ‘Chiesa delle Zitelle’.

The island also has several worldly attractions to offer. At its western side for instance there is a large building in a Gothic revival style that until the outbreak of the Second World War housed the largest pasta factory in Italy – the ‘Molino Stucky’. A German architect by the name of Hannoveraner Ernst Wullekopf was commissioned for the extension of this brick building. In the post war period this building stood empty for a long time and fell progressively into disrepair. After a transitional period in which it was used as an exhibition space and also in which it had to deal with a fire, it today stands as a hotel belonging to an international chain of hotels. Not far from here is a film studio which is still very much used for shooting films.

As small as it may be, in German literature Giudecca Island has been made big. It has been mentioned by Goethe and Schiller as well as by Theoder Fontane, ETA Hoffman and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Its most famous resident was Michelangelo who lived here for three years in a kind of voluntary exile.

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