The islands of the Venetian lagoon offer visitors a chance to see a different side of Venice, one that has a slower and quieter pace than the heart of the city. As well as a little tranquillity, the Island of Sant’Erasmo offers beautiful views across the lagoon, and a chance to surround yourself in its vineyards and orchards, for which it earned the title of ‘Garden of Venice’.
Located just 30 minutes from Venice, the Island of Sant’ Erasmo is the largest island in the Venetian lagoon, yet it is the quietest, and has the smallest resident population of all the islands. In fact there are only around 750 people living here – with just a few surnames in existence. For hundreds of years, Venetians have produced delicious fruit and vegetables from the land here - renowned, apparently, because of its unique soil composition. That means that most of the island is used for agricultural purposes and devoted to nature. It makes for quite a contrast with centre of Venice. It has escaped that volume of tourism. In fact, this is the island where the Venetians take a break. You can join us on a tour of the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Sant'Erasmo is close to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello
In summer, Sant’Erasmo is a lovely escape from the heat of Venice. You’ll find many Venetian families here, particularly at the weekends, where they visit to have a picnic on the ‘Bacan’ beach. You might see their little boats moored nearby.
The beach on Sant’Erasmo – a favourite spot of local Venetian families. (Image credit: Commons Wikipedia)
However, you don’t need a boat to take you to Sant’Erasmo – there’s a regular ferry that travels between this island and Venice – transporting people, and produce to Venetians and the Rialto market. You can hop aboard by yourself, or you can travel along with a tour guide who’ll arrange transport and help you explore the island, whilst sharing its history with you.
Since Sant’Erasmo is located between Murano, Burano and Punta Sabbioni, it also offers beautiful views out towards the lagoon. The coloured houses of Burano are just about visible from here. If seeing Venice from the water is on your list of things to do, you can join us on a private gondola tour, with room for up to 6 people!
Exploring the island, you’ll be able to visit Maximillan Tower, a circular military fortification that dates back to the mid 19th Century. It was started by Napoleon and completed by the Austrians. Its name comes from a member of the Austrian dynasty who took refuge there. It’s been refurbished and is open to the public. Some times you can find various exhibitions being shown here – many of them are free, and an added bonus to your visit.
Torre Massimiliana or Maximmillan Tower on Sant’Erasmo (Image source: Commons Wikipedia)
Sant’Erasmo also hosts two festivals each year, and as you might expect they are dedicated to the land and its produce – in particular to Sant’Erasmo’s renowned purple artichokes and wine. During these two festivals, Venetians take part in feasts, listen to music and generally celebrate life.
Sant’Erasmo Island is a perfect location to see a different side to Venice. It’s the perfect size to explore by foot or even by bike. It’s a fantastic escape from the heat and busy-ness of Venice in summer. At any time of year, you’ll be surrounded by nature on Sant’Erasmo, and you’ll get a chance to experience the place Venetians love to escape the city to.
Please do visit us at www.veniceincoming.com for more information on how we can help you explore Sant’Erasmo. You can also stay up to date with our tours, news and reviews from other guests by following us on our Facebook, TripAdvisor and Instagram pages.