The gardens and vineyards of the Venetian lagoon

The island of Sant'Erasmo (St. Erasmus) can be considered a haven of peace and tranquillity, far from the chaotic tourist trails of nearby Venice. Its distinctly agricultural character has ancient roots: the fruits and vegetables used to supply the city were cultivated right here since the Middle Ages on a strip of land reclaimed from the waters, between Murano, Burano and Punta Sabbioni.

The tranquillity and solitude of this place allowed the few farmers living here to nurture vegetable gardens and vineyards interspersed by ghebi, shallow furrows which sketched an orderly weave across the land. The sleepy, rural rhythm of life on the island contrasted with the traffic and chaos of commercial Venice, making the island of Sant'Erasmo a countryside haven of peace.

Today Sant'Erasmo is linked to the mainland by a ferry that connects it with Cavallino Treporti and with a steamboat which leaves from the Fondamenta Nuove in Venice. Visitors continue to appreciate the serenity that reigns on the island, which retains its agricultural tradition celebrated every year in two major events: the May festival of the famous purple artichoke (a Slow Food Product) and the October festival dedicated to must.

The island is about four kilometres long and is ideal for a bike ride or going for a walk. In addition to the fields planted with vegetables, fruit trees and vines, you can pay a visit to the Maximilian Tower - a fortress built by the Austrians in the early 1800s and recently restored - and the Church of Christ the King, rebuilt on the ancient Church of the Holy Martyrs Hermes and Erasmus.

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