Thursday, August 9, 2007

Giudecca, Venice, Italy

Giudecca island in Venice is off the beaten path for the tourists. It may not be as attractive overall as the other islands in Venice for plein air painting, but it does have some very beautiful spots for painting the water. It also has the advantage that it is relatively quiet and you get to meet the locals Venetians along the quay front where they do their shopping. (There’s a great fresh fish shop here too).
When I stayed there I had a third floor apartment that had views up towards Santa Maria della Salute, and the morning scenes on the water were stunning. I got up several times at five in the morning to paint the canal in the sunrise. The morning light sparkles on the water and the silhouette of San Giorgio Maggiore together with that of Santa Maria della Salute makes a backdrop. The effect lasts around only a half hour so you’ll need a couple of painting sessions to get it.
Be prepared however, if you stay next to the Giudecca canal, that all the large cruise ships come along this canal to the docks, and they completely dwarf the palaces, many of these ships being
twelve stories high. There is a tremendous amount of boat traffic on the Giudecca canal which is interesting to watch, although it does go on all night long if you have a room right next to the canal.
They are rebuilding the canals and renovating the promenades, and I found some unusual canal paintings formed by the construction equipment used. If you go down the back alleyways here though, you can really get away from the tourist traffic since only locals go there, and you can paint the calmer waters of the smaller canals. All in all I like Giudecca island as a base for Venice and have been back several times to paint.

Overall rating: ****
Aesthetics: ****
Accessibility: *****
Tranquility: *****
Variety: ***
Shade: ***

Map: Giudecca, Venezia, Italy

This location contributed by:
Barry John Raybould