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San Lazzaro Monastery

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San Lazzaro degli Armeni - Venice lagoon

ABOVE: Entrance to the monastery of San Lazzaro.

Visiting the monastery

The monks of the St. Lazzaro monastery have welcomed visitors for more than two centuries. In 1816, Lord Byron visited the island twice a week for six months, studying Armenian and envying the monks' comfortable academic lifestyle. A plaque quotes Byron as saying, "The visitor will be convinced that there are other and better things even in this life."

If you'd like to see those better things for yourself, you can take a daily guided sightseeing tour at 3.25 p.m. The multilingual tour lasts about 75 minutes and ends in a gift shop where you can load up on Armenian religious literature, postcards, and prints.

How to reach the island

The No. 20 vaporetto leaves San Zaccaria , east of the Piazza San Marco, for the islands of San Servolo and San Lazzaro. (Normally you can take the 3:10 p.m. boat and reach the island in time for the 3:25 p.m. tour, but check ACTV's current seasonal timetable for departure and arrival times.) From the San Lazzaro boat pier, walk toward the entrance to buy a ticket and wait for the tour to begin.

After finishing the tour in the gift shop, you can exit the monastery buildings and enjoy the gardens between the entrance and the boat pier (shown below).

San Lazzaro - vaporetto pier

Tips:

  • Although the guided tour is interesting, the San Lazzaro monastery is little more than a footnote to Venetian culture and history. We'd recommend saving this excursion for a second or third visit to Venice unless you're staying 10 days or more.
  • The guided tour isn't cheap. You'll also need to pay for vaporetto transportation, so you may want to spend your time and money elsewhere if you're on a budget.
  • Most children (and many teenagers) will be bored by the tour, and there's nowhere to go until the next vaporetto departure if you bail out. So think twice before hauling the kids along.

Back to: San Lazzaro degli Armeni


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