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Lagoon and islands

Venice Lagoon

Once, the islands in the Lagoon were densely inhabited, each occupied by a town or at least a monastery. Whenever the city became claustrophobic and sad, all a Venetian had to do was get in a boat:

Coi pensieri malinconici
Non te star a tormentar.
Vien co me, montemo in gondola, Andaremo fora in mar.

(Don't remain tormenting yourself with melancholy thoughts/Come with me, let's get in the gondola/ go off to sea)

By the 1990s, all but a few of the islands were abandoned; many a tiny one, with its forlorn, vandalized shell of a building, has been abandoned to weeds.

Recently, however, the boom in property prices around Venice has seen new interest in re-investing and restoring them by business interests either as luxury hotels (San Clemente), residential housing (Santo Spirito), sport centres (La Certosa), archaeological sites (Lazzaretto Novo) and even as, just what Venice really needs, a theme park (Sacca San Biagio).




Ancient Altinum

Museo Archeologico Nazionale e Area Archeologica di Altino


Brightly painted and bijou

Casa Museo Andrich

Dreamy idyll on Torcello


Campgrounds and dunes

La Certosa

Island of kayaks


Working-class Venice


Venice's 'sacred walls'

Lazzaretto Novo

A Quarantine station, now Venice's biggest archaeological site

Lazzaretto Vecchio

The world's first quarantine island

Madonna del Monte

Tiny, abandoned and shrinking


Venice's first island capital, now a channel


A garden island linked to Burano

Mestre and Marghera

Mordor on the Lagoon is now Venice’s main port


Barrier island


'The world's most haunted island'

Sacca Fisola

Residential island and a communal pool

Sacca San Biagio

Ex incinerator island, but future theme park?

Sacca Sessola

Now a private island with a luxury hotel

San Clemente

'The Gateway to Venice,' now site of a luxury hotel

San Francesco del Deserto

The garden island of St Francis

San Giacomo in Paludo

St James of the Marsh

San Giorgio in Alga

St George of the Seaweed

San Giorgio Maggiore

Palladio's lagoon landmark

San Lazzaro degli Armeni

Venice's Armenian island

San Michele in Isola

The island of the dead

San Servolo

The 'Island of the Mad', now a museum and University

Sant' Elena

The last church in Venice

Sant' Erasmo

The Serenissima's vegetable plot

Sant’Angelo in Polvere

St Angel of Gunpowder

Spirito Santo (island)

An island awaiting a new destiny


Venice's cradle


Car park

Le Vignole

Little island of gardens

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Tony Hisgett, Creative Commons License