Giudecca, a long and narrow island framing the southern edge of Venice, is often overlooked by tourists, who prefer to be in the city’s uttermost centre. While this is obviously just fine, visitors should keep in mind that sometimes, the most authentic experiences are to be found just outside the most visited areas of town. Giudecca is testament to the fact that every city, especially one as old as Venice, boasts many diverse facets and experiencing just one means you’ll be doing it, and yourself, a great disservice.
Throughout its past, Giudecca has been a fishing village, an artists’ playpen and an industrial hub. Its recent revival, back towards the more artistic side of Venice, has seen it flourish once more, and many locals attest that Giudecca is the real Venice minus the tourist crowds and the sellers of glow-in-the-dark plastic gondolas. Want to get a taste of the real Venice before it too disappears? Then book your holiday rental apartment or villa in Giudecca and discover a most authentic side of this Italian treasure. Spend your days exploring the most famous sights, and make sure you dedicate some time discovering the most hidden treasures of Venice found right here in Giudecca.
The most revered church in Giudecca, and one of the most iconic structures of Venice, is the Church of the Redeemer (Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore), built in the late 1500s to mark the end of the Black Plague, and the end of Venetian suffering. The plague claimed the lives of over 30% of the city’s residents, and this lustrous white-marbled cathedral stands as testament to the city’s continuing resilience. Inside you’ll discover a simply stunning fresco depicting the city’s liberation from this heart-wrenching event. Almost five centuries later, the end of the plague is still celebrated every year, when hundreds make the pilgrimage across the canal on a rickety old pontoon to pay tribute to the Redeemer. Join the crowds during the third week-end in July and you too can give thanks to the powers that be, for allowing Venice to survive this most horrendous episode in history. The Festa del Redentore is one of the most vibrant festivals in Venice and combines religion with music, art and food.
One of the less visited museums in Venice would have to be the Fortuny Silk Museum, home of the world renowned king of pleated silk. Venice may well be known as the birthplace of silk, yet this particular artisan was originally a Parisian resident. It was his phobia of horses which led him to migrate to the one city he knew of, which did not use them as transport: Venice! The multi-floor museum and showroom includes a mindboggling collection of magnificent silk wares, all still made in the same secretive fashion (and using the same secretive machines) which have been in operation here for over a hundred years. Fortuny silk is still the most sought-after fabric in Venice, and the recently renovated Palazzo Vendramin, a 15th century mansion next to the Cipriani Hotel, boasts a priceless amount of furniture entirely covered in Fortuny fabrics.