Sant’Erasmo: Venice vegetable garden – Purple Artichoke Festival May 12th 2019

Sant’Erasmo is an island in the Venice lagoon, half an hour by vaporetto from the Fondamente Nove (Line 13). To explore it we recommend you a walk through its characteristic vegetable fields, vineyards and orchards, surrounded by the breathtaking lagoon scenery.


Sant’Erasmo purple artichoke

From the sixteenth century, the island is known as the “Venice vegetable garden“, due to its large concentration of vegetable gardens and cultivated fields, which for generations have provided fruit and vegetables to the historic center. Among the many local crops, artichokes undoubtedly stand out above all. The variety grown on the lagoon took its name from this island, Sant’Erasmo purple artichoke. The right season to taste this tender, fleshy and elongated vegetable, is from the end of April, when the first small apical artichoke buds, called castraùre, are ready to be picked off. Harvest continues until the end of June.


A typical product of the Lagoon area

Today there are very few artichoke growers in the lagoon and they suffer more and more the competition of the products coming from other parts of Italy, passed off as Sant’Erasmo artichokes and sold at lower prices. For this a Consortium has been established, followed by the institution of a Slow Food Presidium, which have brought together the growers of the lagoon islands in order to distinguish and add value to the authentic local artichoke grown in Venice.


Sant’Erasmo Purple Artichoke Festival 

The best way to discover this tasty typical product of the lagoon is taking part to the Sant’Erasmo Purple Artichoke Festival, an annual enogastronomical kermesse held on May 12th on the island of Sant’Erasmo. For the occasion, at the Torre Massimiliana, tastings will be organized and you will have the possibility to buy local products directly from producers.


When spring comes, nature in Venice glows thanks to its more than five hundred gardens. Here is a selection of five gardens that are open to the public and that are found inside some of the most beautiful historic palaces where important cultural institutions are hosted.


  • Such is the case of Ca’ Rezzonico, facing the Grand Canal, centre of the the Venetian 18th Century Museum. On the inside of the palace, a superb garden is concealed. Restored by the architect Giorgio Bellavitis, it has been recently renewed.
  • From Campo Santo Stefano to Campo San Vidal, the visitor walks through a green corridor, part of the spacious garden of Palazzo Franchetti, frequently embellished with a display of artworks.
  • Another historic Venetian garden is that of Palazzetto Bru Zane, home of the Centre de musique romantique française, inhabited by cherubs, roses and hortensias.
  • One garden that can’t be missed is that of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia designed by the famous Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa. The visit to the garden is included in the tour of the palace.
  • The garden in the backyard of Fontego dei Turchi is perfect for a meditative break. This historic palace is now home to the Natural History Museum.

SAINT MARK’S DAY 25th April 2019

On April 25th Venice celebrates Saint Mark’s Day, the patron saint of the city.

It is a feast  particularly appreciated by Venetians people and characterized by a very beautiful and ancient custom: this day coincides with the so-called Rosebud Festival (Festa del Bòcolo), on the occasion, men traditionally give a single red rosebud (bòcolo in Venetian dialect) to their beloved as a symbol of their endless love.


Saint Mark’s relics

Saint Mark became the city’s saint patron after the arrival in Venice in 828 AD of his relics, that were adventurously stolen from Alexandria. Initially, the relics were placed inside the Doge’s Palace, waiting for the construction of the new basilica. In 1063, the Doge Domenico Contarini commissioned the construction of the current Saint Mark’s Basilica to host the Evangelist’s remains. The relics were placed inside the crypt until 1811, when were definitely moved under the high altar. Since then, the crypt has been used only as a burial place for the Patriarchs of Venice.


Saint Mark’s Bell Tower

Saint Mark’s Day had also an important connection with the history of Saint Mark’s bell tower, called by Venetians the paron de casa (the “house owner”). The foundation of the 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall Saint Mark’s bell tower, began in the 12th century. Almost a thousand years later, on 14 July 1902, the tower collapsed ruinously. The reconstruction started on 25 April 1903, with the laying of the first stone, and the day of Saint Mark of 1912 it was officially inaugurated.


Venice’s gardens

If you are in Venice on these days, don’t miss to visit one of the five hundred gardens. In spring, the rose, the undisputed sovereign of Venetian gardens, offers to the visitors romantic blooms and picturesque views. To find out more, take a look at this article by the writer Mariagrazia Dammicco or choose one of the many qualified tourist guides that will be able to reveal you the legends and secrets of this thousand-year-old city.


From: “DeTourism”


The Venice Lagoon reveals, to those who want to look for them, the most incredible places, that for centuries have witnessed some of the most significant events in the history of the Serenissima. That is the case of the Lazaretti: two small islands where ships, with all their crew members and cargoes suspected of being infected with the plague, were detained before entering the city. In the island of Lazzaretto Nuovo (New), in the Northern Lagoon, people spent forty days in isolation (here is where the term quarantine was born) for a preventive purpose; in the Southern Lagoon, the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio (Old) was a real place of detention for those found to have plague. After the XVII century their aim was changed to military use during French and Austrian domination. Since the 1970’s they’ve been mostly abandoned. Now, thanks to various Venetian associations, the islands are open to the public again.


The island of Lazzaretto Vecchio

The lazaretto on the island of Santa Maria di Nazareth, near the Lido, was established by the Venetian Republic in 1423 as the first permanent plague hospital in the world. It seems that the term lazaretto, later adopted to indicate a hospital for patients infected with infectious disease, derives from the corruption of Nazaretum, the ancient name of the island. From April to October extraordinary public openings are organized on Sundays. Next special openings of the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio will take place on April 14th and May 12th. After the summer, the island opens to the public on Sunday 22 September and Sunday 6 October, reservations open in June. All the tours are in Italian. If you need another language, make sure to ask for it.


The island of Lazzaretto Nuovo

Every weekend until October 27 the island of Lazzaretto Nuovo can be visited with a two-hour guided tour. The tour includes a historical-archaeological path inside the perimeter walls and a nature walk, the trail of the saltmarshes, inaugurated just a week ago. It is an itinerary that allows you to observe the most precious lagoon environment, the saltmarshes, vegetated mud flats that are submerged by the very highest tides, today at risk of disappearing. The trail, about a kilometre, follows the old route of the sentinels, and climbs onto the nineteenth-century bastions, giving great views of the whole panorama of the lagoon.


Art exhibitions, events, dance and theatre: if you are interested in arts & culture, there’s no shortage of things to do in Mestre!

  • M9, the museum of the 20th century, aims to take visitors on an interactive journey through the Italian history of the last century. Every Sunday morning at 11.30 the museum offers guided tours both for the permanent and for the temporary exhibition The Italy of Photographers. 24 Artists’ Tales. Advance booking not required; the guided tours cost €5 per person in addition to the entrance fee.
  • The photography exhibition Turbulent America, at display until May 30th 2019 at the Candiani Cultural Centre, presents three decades of work by photojournalist Jean-Pierre Laffont covering American culture and history from the 1960s to the 1980s. He arrived in New York in 1965 and for more than three decades, he travelled through the country, from Manhattan to the Central states, trying to capture the spirit of the times.
  • The Toniolo Theatre on April 16th at 9 pm hosts the highly-anticipated CARMEN.maquia, the closing event of the International dance festival. The performance, presented by the Valencian company Titoyaya Dansa, is a contemporary, Picasso-inspired reinterpretation of the classic Bizet opera, Carmen. The choreography fuses contemporary dance with Spanish paso doble and flamenco.