An elongated island, actually composed of several islands connected by bridges, which in the past earned it the name of Spinale or Spinalonga.
Giudecca has also been defined by other names such as Vigano, intended as a village / village in the historic center, and Carbonaria, for the numerous coal boats that arrived there.
The current name, however, does not seem to have a certain origin yet, even if it seems to derive from zudegà, a Venetian term to indicate sentence or sentence, in reference to the granting of some land to the Barbolani, Flabanici and Caloprini families, recalled from exile, to compensate them for damage suffered. Already in 1252 there is a trace of the name Judechae. Subsequently, Zudèca, Zuèca and finally Giudecca seem to derive from it.
Another line of thought seems to attribute the name to the presence of numerous Jews, or Jews, also testified by the presence of two synagogues later demolished in a more recent past. However, this attribution would not seem to be the most practicable today, despite the name Giudecca also appearing in other regions of Italy, to indicate neighborhoods inhabited by Jews.
A further curiosity about the name: Iudeca is the name of Giudecca that Dante gave to the last area of Cocito, belonging to the 9th circle of Hell, where the traitors of benefactors are punished, totally immersed in the ice.
In ancient times the island was practically half of today's extension, like many areas of Venice and the lagoon now conformed, which began to take its current form from the mid-1200s, thanks to burial operations. The Long Bridge still testifies to the junction point between the original island and the one visible today. Coronelli's proposal and design was also made for the construction of a bridge connecting the island to Venice, which was of course never built.
Giudecca was also the residence of Michelangelo Buonarroti, who arrived in Florence from 1529. It is said that on this occasion he presented a model for the stone construction of the Rialto Bridge to the Senate.
Over time and even today Giudecca has been and is the residence of some important personalities, including Elton John.
The inhabitants are called giudecchini and often call the island with the affectionate nickname of gnecca.
The island is still one of the most Venetian parts, not invaded by mass tourism apart on some occasions, such as that of the Festa del Redentore where the island lights up in every sense and fills with tables with typical dishes and celebrations awaiting the fireworks display: the fóghi.
Here there is also the only Youth Hostel in Venice in the Zitelle area, an inexpensive way to visit the city dedicated to young people, and a women's prison in the Sant'Eufemia area.
In Sant'Eufemia there is also one of the oldest churches in Venice, with a simple appearance. Of course there are other churches, the best known is certainly the Basilica of the Most Holy Redeemer, or Church of the Redeemer, the arrival point of the votive bridge during the Festa del Redentore. A tradition always alive in homage to the defeat of one of the two greatest plague epidemics of the past.
There is no shortage of cultural activities and today it houses one of the most active structures in Venice: the Casa dei Tre Oci.
Until a few years ago, Villa Hériot was the seat of the Carlo Goldoni elementary school, now home to the European Society of Culture, the International University of Art, home to Venice, and the Venetian Memory House of the twentieth century.