Although it’s technically part of Dorsoduro, Giudecca – with the namesake canal separating it from the rest of Venice – has its own distinct personality. So, why stay on an island with no bridges connecting it to Venice’s more touristy areas? Because on Giudecca, residents outnumber tourists and a working-class ethos pervades. Not only that, but there are a handful of interesting places to stay and eat, and San Marco is a mere 20 minutes away by boat.
You won’t be bombarded with restaurant choices on Giudecca; there are a handful of simple pizzerias and a few modest to upscale restaurants. A stand-out, as much for the food as the setting, is Trattoria Ai Cacciatori, where tables are perched alongside the glistening Giudecca Canal. If you want to blow your budget for an unforgettable meal, then head to the Michelin-starred Oro Restaurant at the posh Hotel Cipriani.
If ever there’s a place to spring for a €17 cocktail, the Skyline Bar at the Hilton Molino Stucky is it. Consider it the price to pay for achingly gorgeous nighttime views of La Serenssima all aglow. Watch the vaporetti (waterbus) come and go from waterside Bar da Matteo on Fondamenta Zitelle, where the vibe is as casual as they come.
Designed by famed 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio, Il Redentore, or the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore, was commissioned by the city of Venice to give thanks to God for lifting the Black Death, which killed more than 25 percent of the population in the 1570s. Today, its domed profile is an essential part of the Venice skyline.
For an island known for its working-class roots, Giudecca boats some of Venice’s most elegant hotels, including the legendary Hotel Cipriani and the Palladio Hotel & Spa. If you’re looking for a budget sleep in an industrial-chic setting, try the Generator Hostel, with private rooms and dorms in a former warehouse.
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Modern architecture may seem like a fish out of water on the Venetian Lagoon, but Guidecca has a surprising amount of it, from reclaimed warehouses and factories to innovative new construction. Don’t leave the island without checking out the bold, blocky designs of Junghans, a mixed-use residential and commercial zone in a former munitions factory.