Giudecca: Short History of the Island

Venetians say that Venice is in the shape of a fish and Giudecca is the ideal spine. Eight islands give shape to this spine which is only 2000 meters and 300 meters wide. Only a few meters away from Saint Mark’s Square this island has always lived differently. Some say that the name Giudecca comes from an old community of Jews that first lived on this stretch of land. Others say that it comes from the noble Venetians that were judged (guidicati in Italian) by the Republic of Venice and sent to live on this island. Whatever the case, it’s true that many Venetian noble families built beautiful summer villas surrounded by gardens and orchards on this island. An Englishman, Frederik Eden, bought the last artichoke farmland in 1884 and turned it into a beautiful garden known as The Garden of Eden. It was designed by Gertrude Jekyll one of the most famous English landscape designers of those days. It’s still a private garden but you can always take a look at it from the Fondamenta San Giacomo. Some churches, monasteries and convents were built on this island. As time has gone by these religious buildings have been transformed into industrial factories. In the late 19th century the old monastery of San Biagio became a grain mill known as the Molino Stucky. Just recently transformed into an apartment building where we have our 8 deluxe apartments. As you walk along the Canal della Giudecca and leave behind the Residenza Grandi Vedute you can start visiting the churches on the Island. The first to be found is Santa Eufemia with an interesting painting by Bartolomeo Vivarini (1480) on the high altar. Keep walking along the Canal and you will find the famous church of Redentore designed by Palladio (more info go to Festa del Redentore). At the end of the island you will find the Church of Zitelle where noble women used to teach poor women and orphans the art of sewing. Today, this peaceful island is home to many Venetian families who came here to relax. It’s the ideal place to enjoy the Venetian lifestyle.