Venice Laguna (not a Lagoon)

People when they hear about Venice laguna often think of it as a bay with azure/turquoise transparent waters.

By the English dictionary these are the definitions:

Laguna = noun

a bay, inlet, or other narrow or shallow body of water.

Lagoon = noun

an area of shallow water separated from the sea by low sandy dunes.

That is not what “Laguna” in Venice is. It is a rather shallow muddy body of sweet water. In the city, in the Canal Grande and all others minor “canali“, it is also dirty, but that is because of city life and way too many tourists that the city can no longer handle.

The “laguna” includes all other islands near Venice. Some very famous, such as Murano, Burano, Lido, and Chioggia. Other a little less know such Torcello, Pellestrina, Mazzorbo, and S. Francis of the Desert.

From the small town of Altino (past the Venice Airport) it is possible with a fishermen boat to go down the river Dese and visit some of the islands.

These boats are called “Bragozzi“, and they are the typical fishermen boats. They can only carry max 50 people as the waters are very shallow. They are also muddy because these rivers carry debris from the mountains. However, such muddy waters are very important for the natural environment of the “laguna.” Since 2006 the area is monitored, and now the original vegetation, acquatic life, and birds are back in the laguna, threfore restoring the right equilibrium for the environment and for Venice itself.

Right now the city is no longer “sinking”, the problem now is everybody’s problem, the sea level that is raising.

After a beautiful sail down the Dese River, we landed on the island of S. Francis of the Desert. A very small island with a Franciscan Monastery.

Cloister of the Monastery

Saint Francis participated in the Fifth Crusade (1217–1221), which was an attempt by Western Europeans to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land. On his way back St. Francis arrived on this small island then owned by the Venetian nobleman Jacopo Michiel, he is welcomed by the song of a multitude of birds. In 1233 (just 5 years after the canonization of Brother Francis of Assisi), Jacopo Michiel – of the doge family – donates the island to the Friars Minor, affirming that a small church dedicated to St. Francis has already been built on it.

The tour the proceeded to Burano and Torcello since it only takes a little longer than an hour to visit, but that will be for another day.

Below more images from St. Francis of the Desert Monastery

The donation document

The Cloister

The Cloister

The rose garden

The church was kept simple

Arriving on the island of St. Francis of the Desert
The altar marking the very place where St. Francis used to sit and pray

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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