There is one Venice. Tiny little streets full of people, singing oarsmen in gondolas, Rialto Bridge and San Marco Square. The Venice you already love.
And then, there is Giudecca. The Venice that will steal your heart.
Giudecca is part of the sestiere of Dorsoduro and lies immediately south of the central islands of Venice, separated by the Canal bearing its namesake. You may have heard its fame due to the Redentore Fest: one of the most famous and heartfelt festivals for Venetian residents and tourists from all around the world. Especially for the festival, the island is reached by a bridge built of barges laid end to end across the canal. For the rest of the year, a ferry from San Marco or Piazzale Roma is the best way to land there.
It was anciently known as Spinalonga (Long Thorn) due to its unique form and stable foundation. Once an area of large palaces and gardens, the island changed into an industrial area in the early XXth century. By the end of the WWII, it had transformed into a quiet residential area of largely working-class housing.
What does it look like now? We took a long walk to find out.
The first thing you do when you step foot onto the long dock in Giudecca is to turn around and look back. The echoes from the Venice you know are too strong. This is a living city; it keeps calling you. And if you dare to listen, you will be rewarded with a view you can only have from this side of the canal. Take all the time you need to walk along the dock and rest assured you will never get tired of the view.
After a while, you will stop in the middle of a calle and you will hear something unusual for a city like Venice: silence. There are two kinds of people in Giudecca: true Venetian residents, and you. No screams, no crowd voices, nothing but the wind blowing and the cicadas singing.
It is only twenty minutes via ferry to the frenzy of San Marco and Canal Grande, but it feels like a lot more. When you walk through the wide streets (feels strange huh?) of the island time seems to run slower. You will rediscover your hidden patience, the joy of taking a moment just for yourself. Sipping a spritz in a local bar, admiring an exhibition in one of the many galleries of the island or just taking the photo of a lifetime.
Massive investments were made here in the last decades to glorify the magnificent grace of some buildings in this area. Like the Mulino Stucky, once a huge flour mill, now a luxury hotel and apartment complex. Or the Junghans Theater, the newest cultural nest in Venice: a little and intimate theatre with only 150 seats, surrounded by four areas for rehearsals, workshops, seminars and courses. Situated in a building which used to be a warehouse for bomb parts produced by the Junghans factory during the war.
Echoes, silence, patience, grace.
This is a part of Venice you might not know yet, but you are going to love very soon.
Author : Mirko Fin
Mirko is a photographer with Aperture Tours: professional photography guided tours, designed to help you get the best out of your camera whilst exploring wonderful cities with a local. He have no limits or disciplines in photography. He look for the meaning in everything. He finds his life as a photographer as a never-ending challenge, an everlasting expedition.