Islands of Venice: San Lazzaro degli Armeni

The islands of Venice are real jewels: they are very different from each other and they all jealously guard a part of the city history. Visiting at least some of them is essential to make the holiday unique and unforgettable, especially for those who love the most hidden and true Venice ... today, we intrduce you to a very special island: San Lazzaro degli Armeni.

All the islands of Venice have a history: that of San Lazzaro degli Armeni begins in the IX Century when we find it as the seat of the Benedictine monks of Sant'Ilario. Over time, however, its function changes and, after the friars, in the XII century it became a shelter for lepers, in the XVI century an accommodation for the sick and the poor and in XVII century appeared in the land registry as a residence for the Dominican friars escaped from island of Crete.

It was only in the 1700s, after a period of neglect, that a small brotherhood of Armenian fathers led by the monk Machitar and escaped from the Turkish invasion of their land, decided to stop on the island thus make it be commonly called San Lazzaro degli Armeni.

Machitar's plan was very clear: renovating old buildings and building new ones to make the island become a center of culture and science, where to keep the language, literature, traditions and customs of the Armenian people alive. Having then learned the art of printing and binding in Constantinople, in 1789 Machitar also organized a small print shop (to be independent in the choice of what he could print) and to which was added a library which today has about 170,000 volumes of which 4500 are manuscripts.

Coming to the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni is like entering a dream: the porticos, the cusp-shaped bell tower, the vegetable gardens, the gothic church with many works of art inside it ... but, above all, the atmosphere is magical and it invites to reflection and serenity. The island is small (only three hectares!) but the experience fills the soul also through the knowledge of the Armenian culture which is incredibly rich even if not sufficiently known.

Opening hours: For individual visitors or small groups, entry is daily at 15.25. For groups of more than 25 people, the visit is by reservation. Mass is Sunday and holidays at 11.00. 

The island can be reached by vaporetto - line 20 from San Marco - San Zaccaria to San Lazzaro degli Armeni stop. If you want you can also take a taxi - San Marco taxi area.