Beautiful and rugged, La Giudecca resembles a miniature version of Venice, without the crowds. It’s a place that combines the history of its churches with the simplicity of its flower-adorned homes and the romance of its pavement cafés. La Giudecca is a collection of eight islands interspersed by river inlets and interconnected by bridges and an elegant waterfront esplanade. It faces central Venice to the north and the Venetian Lagoon to the south.
Start your visit at the majestic Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore. Built by Andrea Palladio in 1577, the church commemorates the deliverance of Venice from the Black Death. Inside are paintings by acclaimed artists such as Francesco Bassano and Lazzaro Bastiani. Come in July for the Festa del Redentore, when pilgrims cross the Giudecca Canal from Venice’s Zattere via a rickety pontoon bridge.
After visiting the church, meander along narrow lanes to the Giardino Comunale. This leafy public garden is ideal for quiet reflection as you gaze out across the Venetian Lagoon.
Go to the Fondamenta, the esplanade that links the islands via footbridges. Alleys lead from the esplanade into the islands’ residential areas. Watch as local hangs out their washing on lines strung between 16th-century mansions and decorate their balconies with colorful flowers. Browse boutiques, delicatessens and fresh produce stores.
Return to the Fondamenta and look at the exhibitions of Galleria Upp and Giudecca 795 Art Gallery. Don’t miss the striking Chiesa delle Zitelle, a Palladio-designed church located on the easternmost island. Stroll along the banks of the postcard-perfect Rio del Ponte Longo canal. Watch boats come and go at the vibrant dockyards.
During your downtime, take a seat at one of the pavement cafés on the Fondamenta. Order a coffee or a glass of wine, sit back and appreciate the views of central Venice. Spot emblematic landmarks, including the domed Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute.
Reach La Giudecca by catching a vaporetto (waterbus) from stops on the Zattere and Grand Canal in Venice.