Other Islands, Venice
This was one of those 'accidental finds' I was looking for 'cheap' accommodation for my last 2 nights in Venice. Il Lato Azzurro came within my budget, but I wasn't sure where Sant Erasmo was. There wasn't too much information about this island (which made it more intriguing) As soon as I'd checked it out, I realised that I was going to like staying on this island.
Vaporetta 13 from Fondamente Nova carries you across the lagoon to this former Roman Pleasure ground! (please check my transport tips for more info)
This is the largest of the lagoons islands, but is only sparcely populated. The island produces fruit and vegetables for consumption on Venice.
I was surprised to see tractors working in the fields, after being in traffic free Venice.
Straight roads are lined with trees and shrubs, some cross over canals, again lined with grassy banks and fragrant flowers. The silence being broken by motor boat engines or bird song.
I really enjoyed staying here, It offers quite a contrast to Venice. There are no 'big attractions' apart from a 'newish' church, the Torre Massimiliano- a 19th century fort, which now holds exhibitions, and a small beach (Spiaggia Libera)- the main attraction is its peaceful rural landscape!
Near the beach is a bar/pizzeria which appeared to be a 'locals' meeting place, otherwise bring food from Venice for a picnic. There is a mini market near the church, but I'm not sure of opening times, or what it stocks.
From the Capannone vaporetta stop its about a 15 minute walk to the tower/beach. Il Lato Azzurro hotel rents out bikes (10 mins along Via dei Forti) You might be able to get a map of the island here too.
Next to Sant Erasmo is the former Quarantine island Lazzaretto Nuova. For over 30 years this has been the site of archeological excavations, with many Roman objects having been unearthed. Guided tours are carried out by archeologists (in Italian) April - October Saturday and Sunday 09.30 and 1600. These are the only times that You are allowed access to the island (unless you make prior arrangements)
Located on a homonymous island 10 minutes south of Venice, la Chiesa di San Clemente was built in 1131 as part of a monastery that hosted Crusader armies on their way to the Levant. The original church was probably Romanesque in style, but it received its existing Renaissance-style façade in 1485. In the 17th century, the Camaldolese (Benedictine) monks who occupied the monastery renovated the interior, which left us the frescoes and Baroque decorations we see today. The entire monastery closed down after the Napoleonic suppression and the church was deconsecrated. While the church has since been empty, the monastic complex has been turned into one of Venice's most luxurious hotels, the San Clemente Palace Hotel & Resort. For those wishing to visit the church, the hotel provides a prompt and frequent shuttle service from San Marco.
The nearby island of Lido, known for it annual film festival, is a pleasant small village to escape to when you're tired of the tourist crowd in San Marco. There are a couple of attractions here like the beaches which attract the beach-loving summer crowd, and the huge Tempio Votivo.
But I came to Lido not for some serious sightseeing but to soak in the laidback vibe that is so missing in the main islands. While the place has its fair share of tourist-packed hotels, there are also lots of friendly locals who are just sitting on the many cafés sipping their cappuccino and watching the world pass by along their leafy streets and unpolluted, non-stinking canals.
Vaporetto nos. 1, 51/52, 61/62, and 82 take tourists and locals to Lido island.
Hardly off the beaten track this little island its across from St Marks Square. Take water bus no 82 from Zaccharia for the 5 minute crossing and enjoy a wander around the little harbour area before you visit the Greek-styled church and monastery here. The views of Venice from its bell tower are well worthwhile paying the escalator fee for - you can see these on my San Giorgio Magggiore page.
In fact Venice has many small island in the lagoon that are worth exploring and I'll mention a few more of these in the next few tips.
I enjoyed Chioggia very much. This is south of Venice on the lagoon. You can take a boat/ferry and be in Venice within an hour.
Sandy has a couple tips-
For some lovely photos
I really can recommend a boattrip to the islands in the lagoon. Just opposite San Marco you can see the long island Giudecca, witch seems to be out of sight for the tourists. What a pity for them. I spent several hours just walking around enjoying the peace and the splendid view to San Marco on the other side of the canal.
San Pietro is isolated and peaceful island, mostly "tourists-free", on the east side of Venice, just north from isola di Santa Elena (but not connected by any bridge with it). It is dominated by San Pietro di Castello church. There are two bridges connecting San Pietro island with other parts of Venice and "San Pietro" vaporetto station on the east side of the island.
As you go to the other Islands around the Achipeligo you will probably see this vista of Venice. Though the water appears dirty it is really just a reflection of the grey sky - when the sun comes out it looks a clean blue!! Due to the amount of water between the Islands the only way to travel is by boat - more specifically Vaporetto - which can be caught not far from St Marks Square to most destinations. A trip to Murano for glass, Burano for lace or Torcello for a wander all start with buying a ticket for a boat ride. A wonderful memory of a great place.
The main feature of this island, located accross the canal from Piazza San Marco (San Marco Square), is the large and impressive Chiesa e Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore. Without a doubt, this monumental complex is among the most important in the world - for its vastness as well as it artistic value. It's definately the materpiece of Andrea Pallido, a great Renaissance architect from nearby Vicenza. It's built in 1566 inside a Benedictine monastery, that was erected in 1000.
When we entered it we saw that the interior of the church had large whitewashed surfaces, it was stark but majestic. It's and unadorned but harmonious space. The main altar is flanked by two paintings by Tintoretto. We went through the doorway to the right of the choir leading us to the Cappella dei Marti (Chapel of the Dead). To the left of the choir is an elevator that you can take to the top of the Campanile. The charge was €3.-, but we didn't do it as the weather had changed so much and the view would be so bad.
We must admit that our visit to Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore was shorter as planned, but it was well worth it. We didn't wasnt to miss this spiritual as well cultural centre.
10:00 - 12:30
14:15 - 17:30
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore has enjoyed periods of wealth and prosperity as well as survived every sort of trail and tribulation. The vaparetto stop is derictly in front of the impressive Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore. This stately monastery spans the entire history of Venice, from her origins to her fall. In fact, it can be said that it began with Venice and ended with her.
We decided to explore the island first as the sun was still shining, but some grey and even blacks clouds were at the horizon. We walked to the back of the monastery and saw a handful of remaining Benedictine monks. Our goal was to have a look at the Teatro Verde, but we were not able to reach it, because some heavy construction work that was done. All the equipment was blocking the road and we didn't see anybody that could help us. Maybe it was for the best as at that time it started to rain heavily and via the Bacino (harbour of the island) we rapidly went back to the entrance of the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore.
Our little and short hike over the island made it very clear to us that the monastery was the only building on the entire island, but worth a visit!
10:00 - 12:30
14:15 - 17:30
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore
During our entire stay in the city of Venice we thought that the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore was quite a fascinating place. We read that "The waters of the St. Mark's Basin mirror the majesty and splendour of the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore." and it's really like that. When we were at the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) we had a clear view at it and we're already wondering how it would be on that particular island. We wondered about it once again when we were all the way up the Campanile and looked down at it. During other hikes in the sestieres of Castello and Dorsoduro we still could see it. Finally our curiosity had another huge impuls when we stopped for a short time for the vaparetto stop on our way to the island of Lido. By then we made the decision, it was about time to visit the island.
On one of the last day of our honeymoon we took the vaparetto number 82 and finally we ended up at Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, at the island directly opposite of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace). Now it was time to find out whether our effort was worth it.
10:00 - 12:30
14:15 - 17:30
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore
Behave whilst you're here and you won't end up HERE !
This is what we think is the local prison ( although I could be wrong ) and we found it on our way to the bus stop on our last day. Their are camera's in each corner, a tower and barbed wire surrounding and also the path leads nowhere at the foot of it, so it MUST be some kind of prison.
I'd be grateful if anyone could let me know... Thanx !
Both church and monastery on the island were built between 1559 and 1580. The church's also considered to be 1 of Andrea Pallado's finest works.
In the sanctuary of the church you can see 2 splendid works by Tintoretto, Last Supper and the Gathering of the Manna.
The church's open daily from 9AM-12.30PM and from 3PM-5.30PM.
The island's also become a conference centre for international conferences and exhibitions.
The landscape along which this long but most interesting itinerary unfolds touches upon several scenic backdrops, ranging from fish farms to small rural villages - Le Mesole and Lio Piccolo - the courgette and artichoke market gardens that make this corner of the lagoon particularly picturesque.The environment is one of the most evocative ones, its main feature being the fish farms; and there are cormorants, and white and grey herons in wintertime; common redshanks, stilt plovers and egrets in summertime, and sandbank formations with their characteristic flora and fauna.When following the long road that coasts alongside the embankments separating the fish hatcheries, you almost feel as though you are advancing into the waters of the lagoon. Beyond Sacchetta Valley you can visit the village of Le Mesole, known for its special fruit and vegetable crops, and reach an oratory (with an ancient curved cypress in the garden) and the restored 16th century monastery.
The Island of San Giorgio maggiore stands right in front of the Doge's palace (Or Palazzo Ducale)
There are a church, some religious institutes, and an harbour with a few sailboats.
From this angle, Palazzo Ducale and the bell tower appear among the masts of the sailyacths....
Nice place to moore your boat, isn't it?