The Quarantine Stations: the islands of the plague and isle of the Armenian Monastery

A 2 to 3 hour tour, depending on the number of islands you wish to visit to immerse yourself in the first city health control stations dating back to the 1400s. Close to one of the two islands you can visit one of the most prestigious Armenian religious and cultural hubs.

This tour is a great opportunity to skip the always crowded Venice and truly get acquainted with its lagoon and the extraordinary natural beauty it contains. It can be done using either public or private transportation.

This tour outlines the unique environment of the Venetian laguna, encovering its natural features and explaining how, historically, Venice became a leading European city of health control – with particular reference to the prevention of the plague epidemic.

All this can be summed up in the islands of the Lazzareto Vecchio and Lazzareto Nuovo. The two Lazzareto islands became Venice’s main quarantine stations for more than four centuries and are now beautiful green islands with archeological sites. 

Lazzareto Vecchio –  located between the island of Lido and Venice – was the world’s first quarantine station when built in 1423. Lazzareto Nuovo – more distant – was created in 1468. The island is located northeast of Venice at one of the lagoon mouths merging into the Adriatic sea. It is not far from Murano and very close to the agricultural island of Sant’Erasmo in a beautiful, natural setting. Once there, we will enjoy the outdoor area with ruins of old lodges. Some structures are still in the process of being uncovered, but there is an  observation deck where a panoramic view of the lagoon can be enjoyed. 

The visit continues indoors to see the largest warehouse in Venice. This was in the past in the past a shelter for imported goods and is now a small but interesting museum. Antiquities and curiosities include  ancient graffities describing the voyages, the ships and documents listing the goods that were kept in quarantine with the crew. Ironsmith instruments can be seen, plus samples of the many findings recovered in several digging campaigns, which can be seen in one of the gunpowder turrets. 

An option is to take a nice walk all along Lazzareto Vecchio and / or Lazzareto Nuovo and immerse yourselves in the lagoon’s own beautiful nature. As the visit goes on, your guide will provide you with a detailed, historical explanation of the natural environment of the lagoon and its present situation. She will describe the Venetian Republic’s health policy once in place to avoid the spread of infectious diseases, together with major facts of its maritime rule in the Mediterranean. 

These are seasonal tours: from mid April to October (afternoons only).

Just next to Lido island you can visit the 18th century Armenian Monastery on San Lazzaro degli Armeni island. The monastery was built on the site of an old leprosy hospice – do not be alarmed – formerly a Benedictine monastery. A true gem in the cultural history of this amazing people and its civilization.

The island can be visited by anyone in the afternoons. You could enjoy the cloister and its colorful church, the famous library that holds about 170.000 books of which 4.500 are manuscripts and the rich museum of precious Arabic, Indian and Egyptian artefacts – including Nehmeket mummy.  It is an ideal stop in case you visited the neighboring island of Lazzareto Vecchio. This site can be explored in the winter as well.

Highlights: Lazzareto Vecchio and Nuovo islands, Armenian monastery.


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