Murano, Burano and Torcello are not-to-be-missed spots while in Venice but few people know that the lagoon also hosts less famous, yet not less beautiful small islands. For those who are already familiar with the
main islands of Venice but would like to discover new ones, here are a few suggestions.
A map of these venues follows
Island of San Francesco del Deserto
Just a short boat ride from Burano, you’ll find the picturesque, aptly named island of San Francesco del Deserto (see main picture). Francescan friars offer free tours of their secluded island home, which, according to legend was visited by St. Francis on his return from the East. The island was owned by a Venetian nobleman and, on his arrival, St. Francis was so impressed by the peacefulness of his surroundings that he decided to use it as a retreat to pray and meditate. Today, the beautiful monastery and the picturesque church still convey echoes of its storied past, and you will probably also be overcome with a desire to linger a little longer amidst its art, history and nature.
There’s no public transport to the island, so you’ll need to catch a water taxi, or book a shuttle by contacting
+39 3479922959. It pays to phone ahead to ensure there’s a friar available.
Island of Santa Cristina
The ideal place for those wishing to sojourn in the middle of the lagoon is the Island of Santa Cristina: an annexe of Venice’s luxury Aman Hotel. In addition to its meticulous service, this island retreat is enhanced by fisheries, orchards, vineyards and a large villa with a swimming pool. A place where you can relax for a few days, discover peace and enjoy the magnificent view from its panoramic altana (sundeck).
Island of Vignole
If you’re determined to discover the most authentic side of Venice, we suggest having lunch on the Island of Vignole. Forget luxury, and, after strolling amidst its green spaces and orchards, enjoy the simple yet delectable cuisine offered by Trattoria alle Vignole. Although you’re unlikely to find many tourists here, the island is frequented by numerous Venetians, who have probably taken an opportunity to enjoy a boat ride. Although
fish dishes take centre stage, you can also try several dishes made with locally grown vegetables, which therefore have a particularly appealing taste.