San Francesco del Deserto

Immersed in the Lagoon of Venice, near the islands of Burano and Sant ‘Erasmo, is the small island of San Francesco del Deserto. It is an isolated territory rich in history and spirituality in the islands of the northern lagoon and habited by the Minor Friars since 1230. The history tells that the foundation of the hermitage coincides with their stay in the lagoon of Saint Francis of Assisi on the way back from Egypt, in 1220. Later, after the death of St. Francis, the Doge Jacopo Michiel gave the island to the Minor Friars  of the Church of Santa Maria dei Frari in Venice, which built a monastery, where they remained until 1420, when, due by deterioration of the island, the few remaining friars abandoned.

From 1420 to 1453 the island remained deserted until Pope Pius II granted the island to the Friars Minor, who collect offerings in the city of Venice and restore the church and the Renaissance cloister with the convent building  .

Forty years later Pope Clement VIII invited to the island a community of young reformed friars who remained there until the Napoleonic suppression in 1806. Only after fifty years’ in 1856 when Emperor Francis I of Austria gave the island to the Patriarch of Venice, the Franciscan Friars Minor returned. The charm of the island has inspired artists and poets for centuries around the world and still the Friars live in this enchanted place. The island is open to tourists for a cultural visit to historical and religious but also to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this magical lagoon site.

The island is accessible only by private means.

 

Opening hours: 9:00 to 11:00 / 15:00 to 17:00

Closed on Mondays.

Also closed on the morning of 17 September (feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis)

and the morning of 4 October (the feast of St. Francis).

The tour is guided by a Franciscan.

Also closed on the morning of 17 September (feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis)

and the morning of 4 October (the feast of St. Francis).

 

The tour is guided by a Franciscan.

Share this article