Island of Sant'Erasmo
One of the largest islands in the lagoon. It is 4kms long, and between 500 and 900 metres wide. It is situated in a strategic part of the lagoon between the northern island of Murano, Burano and Torcello and the mainland of Punta Sabbioni, Treporti and Cavallino.
It has been quoted by Coronelli in 1696 as “Among the islands that are part of the Venetian lagoon with its vineyards and gardens that provide for the city, quantities of perfect fruits and vegetables.”
Sant’Erasmo has always been considered the vegetable garden of Venice. It is famous for the tastiness of its produce thanks to the particularities of the soil which is in part sand and clay and the vegetables are always present at Rialto market in Venice.
Sant’Erasmo is famous for its artichoke, its beets and its asparagus (Consorzio Carciofo Violetto di S.Erasmo). Some wine is also produced and marked by the popular celebration, the "Festa del Mosto", on the first Sunday of October.
The island has seen, in recent times, a slow decrease in its population thanks to its general isolation, the public boat service to the Island is not as regular as it could be, and lack of investment. This has a roll on effect on diminishing births and lack of input in general. There are about 700 inhabitants and the island provides the following facilities – a minimarket, a pizzeria, bar, a restaurant, a hotel, a church, an elementary school, a kindergarten with very few children and civil protection centre. The only positive thing is that the island has maintained its ecosystem.
Points of interest worth a visit is the tower, ‘ torre Massimiliana’ built when the Austrians dominated Venice and forts and military observation points were constructed throughout the lagoon. It was designed by the Arch Duke Massimiliano in the years between 1830 and 40. He was inspired by Medieval defense models. There are other similar examples in Verona and Trieste with a polygon shaped base and with two vaulted floors of 25metres diameter. They were used for accommodation and for storage. It is still owned by the military but is run by private hands. The tower gives a 360 degree view around the surrounding countryside from Treporti to Punta Sabbioni to Lido, Murano and the northern part of the lagoon.
How to get there: Take the number 13 Actv boat from the Fondamenta Nuove in Venice or from Treporti Ricevitoria on the mainland. If you arrive by car you must leave it either in Mestre or in Treporti before taking a boat.