Just to mention here the other island that is passed on the way to San Lazzaro Degli Arrmeni. We didn't stop at San Servolo but noted that it is now the home of an international university and trade school for artisans across Europe who are interested in restoration of stone and stucco techniques. The website link below gives details regarding guided tours of the church, library, phamacy and herb gardens - only by ringing in advance. The roomy buildings here were once used by nuns until about 1725 and when their numbers dwindled was converted to a sanatorium for the mentally ill.
I'd read somewher that the grounds of the monastery had lovely white peacocks - well we didn't see any as the walkway around the island where cordoned off :-S The only other thing of not was this strange art exhibit by the Danish–Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson - installed here as part of the 51st Biennial art festival. The exhibit consists of a tent like pavilion, with views onto the water and ramps leading into a blackened room with a thin beam of light at eye level acting as a horizon line, a full 360° circumferentially, its intensity and color slowly shifting. Tried some pics but they didn't turn out so well in such a dark eerie space.
I'm still a bit in the dark about it all - fraid I'm not really into this art thing at times....but if you are intrigued still then look at he website link given below.
The tour starsts in the restored church - gaily decorated with bright moasics of various saints - and the friendly amiable priest relates the history in the various languages - I must admit I drifted off at this point but did enjoy just sitting in the cool, admiring the artwork (pics 1 and 2) and escaping the heat for a while. The tour then moves on to the long dinning room to see a picture of the last supper (pic 3), before moving onto the library and museum which the Armenians take great pride in.
The No. 20 vaporetto leaves San Zaccaria, near the Piazza San Marco, for the islands of San Servolo and San Lazzaro (15 mins journey). Times of boats are as follows:
S.ZACCARIA M.V.E. boats at 9.20am 10.30am 11.50am 1.10pm 2.30pm 3.10pm
The pier path leads straight ahead to the monastery
Now according to my research guided tours of the monastery were 3-5pm - and gates are shut until then, so we dutifully caught the2..30pm boat for the 3pm tour. We were hoping Ma and Pa Kettle could join us for this trip but that was not to be unfortunately. Alas when you arrive the big notice board states tours begin at 3.30pm - so I'd say take the 3.10pm boat. Tours last about an hour and a half...so for the boats back to Venice:
S.LAZZARO: 10.45am 12.05pm 1.25pm 2.45pm 3.25 pm 4.45pm 5.25pm 6.45 pm 8.05pm
Although running late the 4.45pnm boat waited for the people on the tour to catch this service.
There really is not much else to see - part of the walk arounfd this tiny island were fenced off too so catch the first boat back after the tour.