The most authentic and little-known Venice can be found among the magnificent tiny islands dotting its famous Lagoon. A journey throught lush gardens, hidden vineyards, ancient convents and charming relais. To experience this itinerary in total freedom, the best choice is undoubtedly renting a boat to get easily from one harbor to another. For those who are not already in possession of a boat license, Campello Marine daily rents small boats very easy to manage that can be booked through their website. Departures are from Giudecca, from the west channel dock, from the Venice Lido or from Jesolo Cavallino and the cost ranges from € 180 to € 260 depending on size (4/6 persons).
San Francesco del Deserto is the first stop: a true haven of peace full of intense mysticism and magnificent nature. Located between the islands of Sant’Erasmo and Burano, the island covers about 4 hectares and currently houses a convent dating back to 1220 and founded by San Francesco.
The monastery is partially open to the public and worth a visit to admire the ancient cloister and the beautifully preserved structure, as well as a truly privileged panoramic view of the island of Burano. Before lunch, a stop is recommended on the nearby island of Vignole to restore yourself with a super-typical aperitif based on prosecco wine and “cicchetti” (local appetizers). Anciently the island was a holiday destination called Biniola or “island of the seven vineyards”.
From here you can easily reach Sant’Elena, very close to the Biennale Gardens, to enjoy a typical lunch at Savor (which in Venetian slang means “flavor”), the intimate restaurant of the Indigo boutique hotel. Located a stone’s throw from the Venice Biennale, the Indigo Hotel rises in the spaces of a former 1930s Venetian convent and is undoubtedly the perfect place to enjoy a bit of tranquility immersed into an eclectic and well-kept location.
Recently restored, the hotel is inspired by Venetian history and art through oriental touches, design objects, Murano glass chandeliers and unique art-works. After lunch the best destination is Malamocco, one of the oldest settlements in the Venetian lagoon dating back to Roman times. Characterized by a rich and lively history, Malamocco is located in the southern part of the Lido and is characterized by the presence of three squares: Piazza Maggiore, Campo della Chiesa and Piazza delle Erbe. In the Seventies Hugo Pratt lived here and, together with Lele Vianello and Guido Fuga, founded the cartoonists group of Malamocco.
Many of Corto Maltese‘s stories, probably his best-known character, have as background some glimpses of the island, including the legendary trattoria Da Scarso. After a visit to the Church of the Assunta, dating back to the 12th century, to the Fort and the Gothic Palazzo del Potestà, the best is to enjoy a well-deserved rest at the maison de charme Alberti, a historic home of great charm splendidly recovered by the landlords and “ innkeepers” Michela and Micaela who will make you lose the sense of time, enveloping you in a truly unique atmosphere.