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La Giudecca

The traditionally working-class island of La Giudecca has become gentrified in recent years, with wealthy foreigners (among them, Elton John) buying houses or apartments amid the reminders of Giudecca's 19th and early 20th Century industrial heritage. Still, the islanders haven't been completely assimilated or driven out, and Giudecca is both more insular and quieter than Venice's more central environs.

The island lies just across the Giudecca Canal from Dorsoduro--except for its eastern end, which faces St. Mark's Basin and the Piazza San Marco. You can walk along the waterfront for most of Giudecca's length, watching the constant traffic of water buses, tour boats, commercial barges, small car ferries found for the Lido di Venezia, and--in season--cruise ships.

We've provided four satellite images to give you a taste of La Guidecca:

  • The top photo shows the island in relation to Venice's historic center. (You can see the Piazza San Marco as a spot of grey in the upper right corner.)

  • The second photo shows the luxurious--and expensive--Hotel Cipriani, which until recently was the only hotel in Venice with a swimming pool. (The Venice Generator Hostel is a few minutes from the Cipriani along the waterfront, so you needn't be rich to stay on Giudecca.) Almost next door to the Cipriani is the Zittele Church, which was the third church in Venice to be designed by the architect Andrea Palladio.

  • Another Palladian masterpiece, the Redentore Church, dominates photo no. 3. Every year in July, during the Festival of the Redeemer, the city of Venice erects a pontoon bridge across the Giudecca Canal from Dorsoduro. (If you're lucky enough to get a spot along the pontoon bridge's railing after dark, you'll have a wonderful view of the festival fireworks in St. Mark's Basin.)

  • The fourth and final image shows the Molino Stucky Hilton, an upmarket hotel that opened a few years ago in a former flour mill (which was built in the late 19th Century by an Austrian entrepreneur and had sat empty for more than 40 years after going out of business in 1955). The Molino Stucky is directly across the Giudecca Canal from the San Basilio pier in Venice's cruise port.

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