Retreating on a Venetian Island

To find simplicity.

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be difficult to allocate time for ourselves, whether it be for exercise, meditation, prayer, relaxation, or anything else.

A way to switch off, or maybe to recharge yourself with positive energy, a specific prayer, a moment of sharing with other people, to get out of your daily blender, and focus on inner life.

Just call and book your stay at San Francesco Del Deserto Monastery, an Island in the Venetian laguna.

The Franciscan friars welcome anyone with a smile and with open arms, literally.

Once booked, the most difficult thing is the luggage: apart from sheets and towels – as requested – what to pack for a weekend of reflection in San Francesco del Deserto?

A change certainly, just two t-shirts, slippers for the shower and … an open mind, emptied of prejudices and even thoughts, if possible.

A weekend in an island in the Venetian lagoon in retreat with the Franciscan friars is a panacea for the spirit. Here’s how to get there and stay rules.

An oasis of peace and prayer, where silence is broken only by the song of the birds that live there undisturbed. This is certainly the ideal place for those who want to get away even for an hour from the crowds that, especially in the summer months, invade the city and other islands of the Venice lagoon, but also to spend a few days of tranquility, silence and meditation.

A perfect island for a short escape from the world, walking in the green of secular cypresses, admiring the landscape of the salt marshes, the emerged lands of the lagoon, covered by thick vegetation.

The friars welcome those who wish to retire for a few days in the silence and solitude of the convent: by booking in advance, one can stay on the island to spend three days marked by the Franciscan rhythms, usually from Friday afternoon to Sunday lunch. Guests share moments of prayer and meals with the community. At the disposal of visitors there is a reception house that offers single rooms with shared bathrooms.

The island of San Francesco del Deserto is open to those who want to visit it during the day, from 9 to 11 and from 15 to 17, every day except Monday. Visitors are welcomed and accompanied on their visit by a Franciscan friar. The island is easily reached from Burano with a private boat: the connection is guaranteed every day except Monday at 2.30pm; the journey to and from the island takes about ten minutes and costs 10 euros. Once off the boat, go along the long tree-lined avenue that leads to the church, flanked by the bell tower and the convent. The door to the right leads to the first cloister, recently restored, and to the nearby fifteenth-century cloister, with a baroque well in the center. The beautiful garden, well cared for by the friars, is also worth a visit. Walking along the avenue you reach two panoramic terraces, from which you can admire the landscape of the surrounding lagoon.

To get to the island of San Francesco del Deserto from the historic center of Venice, take the vaporetto line 12 from Fondamente Nove to Burano. For timetables, consult the website of the public transport company:

To reach the island of San Francesco del Deserto from Burano with shuttle service, you can contact in advance

To stay overnight and spend a few days on the island of San Francesco del Deserto, call meal hours at 041 5286863. For more information, visit the website of the Franciscan monastery:

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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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