One day for discovering islets in the north lagoon, that still to this day supply a great deal of city markets. From Vignole to Sant'Erasmo, the “vegetable gardens of Serenissima” on Lazzaretto Nuovo which offers its visitors considerable hints of naturalistic and landscape interest.
1st Itinerary (2h30’): Starting from the wharf of Fondamente Nove, in the northern part of the Venetian historic centre take Line 13 – from Venice Fondamente Nove for Vignole, Sant’Erasmo,Treporti . The first stop is Vignole, the island “of seven vineyards”, first part of our itinerary on the discovery of “vegetable gardens of Serenissima”. The island of Vignole welcomes us with its luxuriant vegetation of elms, poplars and mulberry trees that sprout from the hedges and weeding brambles behind which there are hidden alternately the vegetable gardens and vineyards that have given fame to this island. The only human presence and a reference point, once you have got off the waterbus, seems to be that tavern of the wharf, similar to many others that we come across each time we land on one of these islets disperse in the lagoon. We advise that you stop on this island for a day’s outing on the discovery of what has remained of the ancient church of S. Erosia or of the military defensive works still present opposite Sant’Erasmo, the testimonies of the defensive function of the island during the times of Serenissima. Returning from the walk, we suggest that you stop to enjoy spectacular sunsets in the background of the lagoon and Venice.
2nd Itinerary (2h30’): Retaking the waterbus, we enter the canal that separates the island of Sant’Erasmo from Lazzaretto Nuovo. We suggest that you get off at ACTV stop of Lazzaretto Nuovo and have a stopover on this island to enjoy a panoramic walk along the island’s walls that continue for about one kilometre of the island, offering points of noteworthy naturalistic interest and a 360 degrees view onto the lagoon opposite Venice. If you then want to linger in this dozing atmosphere, we suggest to take the pathway and advance towards groves of bay, ash, hawthorn, wild blackthorn, and marsh cane. When you arrive to the ghebo (small canal) which separates the north side of the island, you could observe typical fish and shellfish of the lagoon and a great variety of sandbank plants, amongst which the limonium and salicornia. Within the walls, you can continue your walk along the lanes bordered by centuries-old mulberry trees and go around real curb-wells, surrounded by ash trees and poplars. It is not rare to see seagulls, little egrets, herons and sea crows pass by or an exemplar of kingfishers, marsh harriers and night birds of prey that frequent the neighbouring areas. In summer time it might also be possible to observe a colony of stilt birds, on the increase in the last years. From April to September on Saturdays and Sundays, it is possible to join guided tours of the island at 9.45h and at 16.00h (ACTV transport with departure from Venice-Fondamente Nuove at 9.00 and at 15.30, from Treporti at 9.07 and at 15.22 – Groups by booking only).
3rd Itinerary (3h30’): Returning to the wharf, take the waterbus again in direction of Sant’Erasmo Treporti and get off at Sant’Erasmo, the biggest island in the lagoon, considered the historic “vegetable garden of Serenissima”. You are particularly hit by S. Erasmo’s rustic aspect and the silence that surround vegetable cultivations, (amongst which the famous purple artichoke of Sant’Erasmo).
Vineyards and orchards, interrupted only by woods and canals, by some ancient fishpond or by some isolated lodge, immersed in a rarefied atmosphere and almost pending in time that seems to have forgotten to switch off the noisy engine of “development”. We suggest one unusual walk, therefore, on the border island that the nature itself had transformed from a noble shore to a small island, from place of summer holidays for patricians reversing to “countryside of Venice”. A journey to be done on foot or by bicycle, (to rent a bicycle contact the Hotel Lato azzurro, near the wharf) solitary and almost abandoned by man, if we exclude the bathers and the fishermen of genuine clams that can be here in the summer months, this is an itinerary which will draw you away from crowds, from the confusion of sounds and colours and from the austere majesty of other islands in the north lagoon. Starting from the boat stop of Sant’ Erasmo-Capannone, take the road in south direction, that goes around the island. The journey is about 9 kilometres long (4km are on asphalt road and remaining 5 km on white paths or dirt roads) and the journey time is about 3 hours, excluding breaks.
Crossing the agricultural landscape of S. Erasmo, you’ll arrive up to the Maximilian Tower, a massive Habsburg fortress that has been recently restored and from which you can enjoy an excellent observation point of the lagoon and the beach below. After having recovered your strength with the fresh sea air that you breath here, turn left and go along the sandy strip of the eastern side of the island that was once upon a time a maritime front of the north lagoon and, continuing along the footpath, you’ll arrive to Seca del Bacàn: the ancient beach is today a system of sandbanks and velme (sandy and muddy terrains) in construction phase and an important transit point of migratory currents of limicolous birds (sandpipers, ruffs, squids etc). At this point, if you don’t want to arrive up to the north-eastern end, the wildest part of the island, we suggest that you take one of the straight roads on your left which go back towards the small and modest built-up area from where you could take a waterbus to take you back to Venice.