Giudecca Island

In this chapter we will deal with the incredible Giudecca island, located along the historic center of Venice and seems almost to protect it.

The Giudecca Island, at the time of the Republic, was a large park with magical houses and lush gardens, an evocative stage of which only a few could enjoy. Once upon a time this island was called Spinalunga, because of its elongated herringbone shape, but over time, at least as some scholars believe, it took the name of Giudecca, because of the Jews, or the Jews who once lived here .

Other studies, however, claim that the name derives from "judged" because in the ninth century rebellious nobles were judged and banished in this island. Among the most precious jewels of the island we want to mention the Church of the Zitelle, one of the Palladian wonders that enhance the profile of the island. The complex of Santa Maria della Presentazione is known by the name of the "zitelle" because at that time, in the convent, young poor people were welcomed and helped and, consequently, destined to remain singles (zitelle).

The Basilica of Santissimo Redentore, designed by the architect Andrea Palladio, is the main monument of Giudecca island and was built between 1577 and 1592 as a token of thanks for the end of the plague of 1576, which caused the death of one third of the population. Designed in a style that goes back to ancient Rome, the church is the full expression of the Palladian style, with elegant yet sober proportions and an imposing entrance staircase. The interior, in classic style, contrasts with the elaborate and ornate style of most Venetian churches. The most relevant paintings are by Alvise Vivarini and Paolo Veronese and are kept in the sacristy on the right of the choir. Every year the doge and his court went to visit this church, crossing the channel of the Zattere on a special bridge of floating boats positioned for the Feast of the Redeemer. Feast that is still celebrated in the third weekend of July.

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