The island of Pellestrina is a long thin, 11km strip of land in the southern part of Venice’s lagoon. It stretches from the port of Malamocco to that of Chioggia. It is made up of three small ‘suburbs’, the two smaller are San Pietro in Volta and Portosecco, and the larger, Pellestrina. In a census from 2008, the island had 4,208 inhabitants, 2,898 in Pellestrina, 1,188 in San Pietro in Volta and 122 in Portosecco.
They divided the island into four areas, gave their names to them and the island flourished. The plague reached its shores however in 1630 and decimated the population. At the end of the same century, the Island also underwent two massive floodings.
In 1807 it was declared an independent city but was then joined to Venice in 1923. It is a picturesque island with its low built coloured houses, its fishing boats moored along the port, its little piazzas and its ‘carrizzade’ the name given to its short little perpendicular streets. It is an island that has been left in time, where daily life and the fishermen are regulated by nothing more than the tides.
These fish “caparosoli” (clams) and “sepe e gransi”, (cuttle fish and crabs). There are also those who cultivate the land. The sense of belonging, of having a Pellestrina identity is still strong even today.
When there is a local, traditional feast day, the streets are decorated with flags and streamers and the atmosphere is more southern than northern. It is still possible to find women outside there homes, in the streets, lace working, doors open, and a cheery hello between neighbours in the island’s own special dialect.
Of special interest is the Church of St Antonio in the Scarpa area of the island. This church was built in 1703. In the Vianello district is the Church of Santa Maria dell’Apparizione (Our Lady of the Apparition) It is octagonal in design with two bell towers in a minaret style. In the Busetti district is the Church of Ognissanti (All Saints) which was founded in 1100.
How to get there: from Lido take bus number 11 from Piazzale Santa Maria Elisabetta.
The bus reaches the end of the island and then takes a car ferry across to Pellestrina. Back