Welcome to the serene and captivating world of Sant’Erasmo Island, a hidden gem nestled in the Venetian Lagoon. Often overlooked by tourists flocking to the bustling city of Venice and neighboring Murano and Burano islands, Sant’Erasmo offers a tranquil retreat that’s rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. As you embark on this journey with us, we invite you to discover the unique charm of this island, its role in the Venetian Lagoon, and our personal connection to this enchanting place.
|Sant’Erasmo: The Largest Island in the Venetian Lagoon||An introduction to Sant’Erasmo, the largest island in the Venetian Lagoon, known for its artichoke cultivation.|
|Historical Significance: Ruined Fortifications and Cultural Events||Discusses the historical significance of Sant’Erasmo, including its ruined fortifications and cultural events.|
|The Garden of Venice: A Closer Look||Provides a detailed look at the island’s abundant vegetable gardens, known as the “Garden of Venice”.|
|Art and Culture on Sant’Erasmo||Discusses the art and culture on Sant’Erasmo, including art and photography exhibitions and the cultural significance of neighboring islands.|
|Planning Your Visit to Sant’Erasmo||Provides information on planning a visit to Sant’Erasmo, including the best time to visit, what to expect, and how to reach the island.|
|Things to Do on Sant’Erasmo||Lists various activities to do on Sant’Erasmo, including visiting the Orto di Venezia Winery, renting bikes, and exploring traditional Venetian foods.|
|Where to Stay in Sant’Erasmo||Provides information on where to stay in Sant’Erasmo, including the Il Lato Azzuro and Basegò.|
Venice Island Series:
- How to Visit Venice’s Islands
- Lido Island, Venice
- Torcello Island, Venice
- Burano Island, Venice
- Murano Island, Venice
Brief Overview of Sant’Erasmo Island
Sant’Erasmo, often referred to as the “Garden of the Doge,” is a haven of tranquility and rural charm. A short ferry ride from Venice, the quiet island is a world away from the crowds, offering visitors a chance to experience the authentic Venetian lifestyle.
Known for its fertile soil and agricultural heritage, Sant’Erasmo is the green lung of Venice, producing a bounty of fresh produce that graces the tables of many Venetian households.
Our connection to Sant’Erasmo is deeply rooted in our love for Venice and its lagoon. We are passionate about showcasing the lesser-known aspects of the Venetian Lagoon, and Sant’Erasmo, with its rustic charm and agricultural richness, embodies this perfectly. Our aim is to share the island’s unique story, its people, and its produce with the world, offering an authentic and immersive Venetian experience.
The Allure of the Venetian Lagoon
The Venetian Lagoon is a place of unparalleled beauty and historical significance. Its unique ecosystem, rich cultural heritage, and the timeless allure of its islands make it a fascinating destination for travelers seeking a deeper understanding of Venice and its surroundings.
The Unique Charm of Venice Lagoon
The Venice Lagoon is a mesmerizing blend of natural beauty and human ingenuity. Its tranquil waters are dotted with islands, each with its own unique character and story. From the vibrant glass-making island of Murano to the colorful fishermen’s houses on Burano, the lagoon is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. Amidst these, Sant’Erasmo stands out with its verdant landscapes and agricultural heritage, offering a unique perspective on the Venetian way of life.
The Role of Sant’Erasmo in the Lagoon Surrounding
Sant’Erasmo plays a crucial role in the lagoon’s ecosystem and the Venetian economy. Known as the “Garden of Venice,” it is the largest producer of vegetables in the lagoon, supplying the city with fresh produce. The island’s fertile soil yields a variety of crops, including the famed Sant’Erasmo artichokes, a delicacy savored by locals and tourists alike.
By visiting Sant’Erasmo, you’re not only exploring a beautiful island but also supporting local farmers and producers, contributing to the sustainable future of the Venetian Lagoon and its vegetable garden.
Sant’Erasmo: The Largest Island in the Venetian Lagoon
Stepping foot on Sant’Erasmo, you are immediately transported to a world far removed from the bustling streets of Venice. As the largest island in the Venetian Lagoon, Sant’Erasmo offers a unique blend of history, culture, and tranquility. The island’s historical significance is deeply rooted in its ruined fortifications and cultural events, which serve as a testament to its rich past.
Historical Significance: Ruined Fortifications and Cultural Events
Sant’Erasmo, referred to as the “Garden of the Doge,” has a rich history that dates back to the times of the Doges, the rulers of Venice, until 1797. The island was their vegetable garden and continues to produce many foods and wines that Venice calls its own. The island’s historical significance is also marked by the presence of ruined fortifications and cultural events that take place throughout the year.
The Quiet Island Life: Village Festivals and Local Traditions
Life on Sant’Erasmo is tranquil and slow-paced, with a population of roughly 750 inhabitants. The island is known for its practically deserted beaches, bicycle-friendly paths, and serene rural setting. Village festivals and local traditions play a significant role in the community, adding to the charm and allure of this quiet island life.
The Garden of Venice: A Closer Look
Venturing deeper into the heart of Sant’Erasmo, you’ll discover why it’s fondly referred to as the “Garden of Venice.” The island is a verdant paradise, brimming with lush vegetable gardens that paint a picturesque landscape. The abundance of these gardens not only adds to the island’s charm but also plays a crucial role in its economy and way of life.
The Abundance of Vegetable Gardens
The island’s fertile soil, a legacy from its past as a vegetable garden for the Doges, supports a variety of crops. One of the most notable products is the violet artichoke, or “carciofi violetto,” which is harvested in fields of purple and green.
The violet artichoke holds such a revered place in Sant’Erasmo’s local culture that in 2007, the inhabitants initiated the “Festa del Carciofo Violetto” or the Festival of the Violet Artichoke. This event celebrates the beloved vegetable with a showcase of local produce and demonstrations of various artichoke cooking methods. The festival is held annually on the second Sunday of May at the Torre Massimiliana.
The Speciality of White Grapes
The island is also home to several vineyards that produce unique local wines. The Orto di Venezia Winery, for instance, grows malvasia and vermentino, both white grapes, and produces around 15-16,000 bottles per year. The winery follows organic farming practices, using no fertilizers and relying solely on moisture from the surrounding sea for watering.
The Annual Boat Race: A Cultural Highlight
One of the cultural highlights on Sant’Erasmo is the annual boat race. This event is a testament to the island’s close connection to the Venetian Lagoon and its maritime traditions. The race is not only a thrilling spectacle but also a celebration of the island’s community spirit and enduring traditions.
Art and Culture on Sant’Erasmo
Art and Photography Exhibitions: A Feast for the Eyes
Sant’Erasmo is not just a haven for nature lovers, but also a paradise for art enthusiasts. The island hosts various art and photography exhibitions that offer a visual feast for visitors. These exhibitions often feature works from local artists, providing a unique insight into the island’s culture and lifestyle.
From rustic landscapes to intimate portraits of island life, these exhibitions are a testament to the island’s vibrant artistic community.
Neighboring Islands: Expanding the Cultural Horizon
The cultural exploration doesn’t stop at Sant’Erasmo. The neighboring islands in the Venetian Lagoon offer their own unique experiences.
For instance, Murano is renowned for its centuries-old tradition of glassmaking, while Burano is famous for its brightly colored fishermen’s houses and lacework. Torcello is known for being even more desolate than Sant’Erasmo, with only 12 people currently living on the island.
Visiting these islands provides a broader understanding of the diverse cultures within the Venetian Lagoon.
Planning Your Visit to Sant’Erasmo
Best Time to Visit Sant’Erasmo Island
The best time to visit Sant’Erasmo is during the spring and summer. During these seasons, you can fully enjoy the island’s farms and beautiful outdoor views. The weather is typically warm, making it ideal for exploring the island’s beaches, bicycling around, or simply enjoying the tranquil rural setting.
For more information, check out our guide to the Best Times to Visit Venice.
What to Expect When You Visit Sant’Erasmo
Visiting Sant’Erasmo offers a unique experience unlike any other. The island is a perfect escape from the bustling city life, offering a tranquil environment where you can enjoy nature and a slower pace of life. Expect to see deserted beaches, lush vegetable gardens, and vineyards. You can also look forward to tasting local products like honey, wine, and artichokes.
How to Reach the Island of Sant’Erasmo
Reaching Sant’Erasmo is relatively easy. The island is located northeast of Venice and is just a short vaporetto (water bus) ride away. This convenient accessibility makes Sant’Erasmo a perfect day trip destination for those staying in Venice.
For more trip planning ideas, read our guide to the best day trips from Venice!
Things to Do on Sant’Erasmo
- Orto di Venezia Winery: Orto di Venezia is the only winery in Venice, offering a unique experience with its beautiful location right on the water. The winery produces 15-16,000 bottles per year using malvasia and vermentino, both white grapes. The farm is completely organic, using no fertilizers and relying solely on moisture from the surrounding sea. They even have a special method for producing one of their wines, where they sink magnums of wine at a secret location in the lagoon for nine months before retrieving them.
- Renting Bikes on Santerasmo: Renting bikes and exploring the island at a leisurely pace is a popular activity on Sant’Erasmo. The island is lush with trees, vegetable gardens, fields of flowers, and grapevines, offering a beautiful bucolic landscape just a short boat ride from Venice.
- The Venetian Dorona Grape: A visit to the small farm of Gastone and Dariella Vio offers a chance to learn about the Venetian Drona grape, the “old lagoon grape” from which the wine of the Doge (Duke) was once made. The farm also produces organic honey from bees that pollinate the limonium, the main flower of the barena.
- Miele del Doge: Miele del Doge is a family-operated beekeeping company on the island. They produce honey from the limonium, a flower that blooms through July and August. The honey is a balsamic sweet honey with a salty aftertaste, rich in iodine and highly prized by French gourmets.
- Traditional Venetian Foods at the Il Lato Azzurro Hotel: The Il Lato Azzurro Hotel offers a chance to taste a variety of local Venetian foods, including Baccalà Mantecato (creamed patties of codfish), Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and artichoke spread, and fried Carciofi Violetto (violet artichokes).
- Venice Lagoon Tour: A boat tour of the Venice lagoon offers a chance to see areas of interest such as the Isola del Lazzaretto Nuovo, the Island of Quarantine, and the Isola delle Vignole, among others. The tour is conducted on a vintage wooden sailboat, providing a unique and authentic experience.
Where to Stay in San’t’Erasmo
While I highly recommend staying in Venice (where to stay in Venice), if you’re interested in staying on Sant’Erasmo Island, there are only two options:
Il Lato Azzuro
This charming hotel is located in the heart of a tranquil paradise on Sant’Erasmo. It offers excellent service and attention to detail, making it a great choice for those seeking a unique and rural escape just a quick ferry ride from Venice.
An idyllic and cozy bed and breakfast that is perfect for couples looking for romance but close enough to fun outdoor activities that families will enjoy their stay also. Basegò offers free beach cruiser bicycles that you can use to ride to the neighboring pier and beach.
Have You Been to Sant’Erasmo Island?
As we draw to a close on this journey through the enchanting Sant’Erasmo, we hope you’ve been inspired to explore this hidden gem in the Venetian Lagoon. From its rich history and vibrant culture to its lush gardens and unique culinary delights, Sant’Erasmo truly offers an experience like no other.
But the beauty of travel is that it’s not just about the places we visit, but also the memories we create. So, we invite you to share your favorite memory of Sant’Erasmo in the comments section below. Whether it’s a serene bike ride through the island, a taste of the exquisite violet artichoke, or a moment of tranquility in the midst of the Venetian Lagoon, we’d love to hear your stories.
Remember, every memory adds a unique thread to the vibrant tapestry of Sant’Erasmo’s story. So, let’s weave this tapestry together and inspire others to embark on their own journey to this charming island.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is Sant’Erasmo known for? Sant’Erasmo is known as the “Garden of Venice” due to its abundant vegetable gardens, particularly its famous violet artichokes. It’s also the largest island in the Venetian Lagoon.
- What historical sites are there on Sant’Erasmo? Sant’Erasmo is home to several historical sites, including ruined fortifications that bear witness to its strategic importance in the past. The Torre Massimiliana, a tower built by the Austrians in the 19th century, is now a hub for cultural events.
- What can I do on Sant’Erasmo? There’s plenty to do on Sant’Erasmo, from visiting the Orto di Venezia Winery and tasting the local Dorona grape wine to renting bikes and exploring the island. You can also attend the annual boat race, visit art and photography exhibitions, and try traditional Venetian foods at the Il Lato Azzurro Hotel.
- What is the best time to visit Sant’Erasmo? The best time to visit Sant’Erasmo is during the spring and early summer when the weather is pleasant, and the island’s gardens are in full bloom. The annual Festa del Carciofo Violetto, or Violet Artichoke Festival, takes place in May.
- How can I reach Sant’Erasmo? Sant’Erasmo is easily accessible by vaporetto, a type of public waterbus in Venice. The journey from Venice to Sant’Erasmo takes about half an hour.
- What are some accommodations on Sant’Erasmo? There are several places to stay on Sant’Erasmo, including the Il Lato Azzurro, a hotel known for its traditional Venetian cuisine, and Basegò, a charming guesthouse.
- What local foods can I try on Sant’Erasmo? Sant’Erasmo is famous for its violet artichokes, but you can also try other local specialties like honey from Miele del Doge and wine from the Orto di Venezia Winery. The Il Lato Azzurro Hotel serves a variety of traditional Venetian dishes.
Plan your perfect adventure in Venice with our guide to islands like Murano, Burano, and more. Learn how to get there and what to see and do.
Visiting the Venetian Lagoon? Be sure to stop at Lido Island, a place where celebrities gather and the beaches are as beautiful as the water.
Torcello is perfect for those interested in Venice’s history. With only 10 residents on the island, Torcello is a unique experience you won’t find elsewhere.
Although a small island, Burano is packed with things to do. From brightly colored homes to lace-making demonstrations, there’s a lot to see and do.