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Lazzaretto Vecchio

Home > Venice > Day Trips | Escape the City | Island Hopping | Outdoor
by Marta Pin (subscribe)
http://www.thepincorner.com/ MP
Event:
an uncoventional tour of Venice
There are times when one desires to visit the forgotten attractions of their own city. Through the care and commitment of citizens, groups and associations of volunteers, these attractions can be experienced through guided tours.

View from the small boat to reach the isle
Credit: Simona Lucia La Placa


I am referring to the extraordinary openings of the Lazzaretto Vecchio isle, in Venice Lido, where all the plague stories and the eradication of it began six centuries ago. Next opening will be on May 17, only with guided tours. Anyone will have the chance to discover the secrets, the history of the building and the organisation behind the management of the goods and people put here in quarantine or who had been hospitalised.

In fact, the building complex was a hospital for patients infected by the plague, and here strict rules were established to control the spread of the disease. Moreover, original procedures to purify the air were planned, as well as a difficult and demanding system to sterilise the goods.

The Lazzaretto manager was the Priore, who had his house within the premises, and had powers on the life or death of the people. Indeed, a Priore was an authority figure in charge of several duties, like accounting, controlling and arbitrating tasks. In Venice, the character and power of a Priore was related and intertwined to the Doges. Decades ago, the Priore shelter was used as a movie set for Marco Polo, then as a local kennel and after, it was forsaken till the last years' rescue.

Interiors of the restored Lazzaretto buildings
Credit: Simona Lucia La Placa


Interiors of the restored Lazzaretto buildings
Credit: Simona Lucia La Placa


If you pay attention, red and weird graffiti are present on the walls. Well, they are old messages belonging to those who were confined waiting to be dismissed from their patient condition, or, in the worst cases, just to die. The atmosphere here is sacred and respect worthy, so, just be quiet and listen to the guide's explanations carefully.

Grafitti on the buildings' walls
Credit: Simona Lucia La Placa


I won't disclosure all the information about the Lazzaretto, but as the Archeoclub associate explained to us that the entire venue was restored by the association's volunteers after it had been abandoned by the local municipality. Thus, summer camps were (and still are) held every summer (on voluntary basis) to take care of it. The diligence of all those guides and volunteers in preserving this pearl of historical memory of the Venetian Lagoon must be commended.

view of the Venetian Lagoon
Credit: Simona Lucia La Placa


I have to mention that the isle and its architectural system are considered as a museum of cultural and historical heritage and I was more than happy to pay 5 euro for the ticket entrance. I've never spent my money in a better way.

In conclusion, if you woud like to act as unconventional tourist in the Venice Lagoon, try to get info on the Lazzaretto Vecchio isle openings and pop in for a different cultural experience. As the openings are rare, please check the website for more details.
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Why? Cultural visit
When: Sunday 17 May
Where: Venice Lagoon
Cost: 5 euro
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