Saint Francis of the Desert

Foto di Anton Nossik
Route details Recommended period Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter Phone+39 041 5286863
Useful advice The island can only be reached by private boat. Visits from Tuesday to Sunday 9-11am / 3-5 pm (closed on Mondays). Telephone booking is recommended.

Saint Francis of the Desert is a religious island in the Venetian Lagoon, located between Sant'Erasmo and Burano, and is a charming place for meditation and prayer in the Venice area.

Rows of ancient cypresses and maritime pine trees outlining the island's perimeter is the image that visitors receive from the water. The founding of the hermitage, as well as the name of the island, are due to Saint Francis of Assisi, who landed here in 1220 after a journey to the East. After returning to Assisi, the monk sent some brothers to reside there, thus asserting the religious vocation of the island, now managed by the Order of Friars Minor. Walking along the tree-lined path, visitors reach the Church flanked by the bell tower and the monastery. For those who desire to combine prayer time with spiritual serenity, cells at the monastery can be hired by visitors. Surrounding the complex, which currently hosts six monks, is a wonderful garden for pleasant and quiet walks.
The itinerary takes you through the antique monastery of Saint Francis of the Desert that, with its flower gardens and secret vegetable gardens, is an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the middle of the Venetian Lagoon.

How to get there: currently the island can only be reached by private boat

Don't miss: traces of Roman settlements are visible, with remains from the I, IV and V century A.D. that emerge from the ground

Useful tips and information: visits are possible from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 11 AM and from 3 to 5 PM (closed on Monday). Booking by telephone is appreciated.

Traces have also emerged from the subsoil of the island of Roman habitation, with findings of the 1st, 4th and 5th centuries AD The name of the place dates back to the 15th century, when the island of San Francesco was abandoned for some years - deserted - due to the unsanitary nature of the lagoon. The charm of the island has inspired artists and poets over the centuries.