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Casa di Reclusione Femminile

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Casa di Reclusione Femminile, prison, Giudecca, Venice
Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Flickr

Time Out says

Growing behind bars.

Behind prison walls, female inmates grow organic vegetables on the Giudecca, formerly Venice’s garden island. Behind the high walls of what used to be a convent on the fondamenta delle Convertite, the inmates of the Casa di Reclusione Femminile (women’s prison) grow vegetables in a 6,400-square-metre plot. To sample the produce of the Orto delle Meraviglie – the ‘Garden of Marvels’ – turn up outside the prison walls on a Thursday morning. Throughout the year, whatever this lovingly tended, chemical-free oasis yields goes on sale to the public.

Produce from the garden also makes its way into the prison’s cosmetics lab, where gloriously perfumed toiletries with the label Veneziana Coloniali e Spezie are made for some of the city’s swishest hotels. But the activities of the 80-odd inmates don’t stop there. The prison’s leather workshop produces a contemporary line of bags, wallets and other accessories in leather and recycled PVC, on sale at a tiny green kiosk in campo Santo Stefano. 


Giudecca 30100
ACTV waterbus from Piazzale Roma
Opening hours:
Market: Thu, 9am-midday
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