Lazzaretto Nuovo is one of the plague islands in Venice
For over three centuries the Lazzaretto Nuovo island was a quarantine station for people suspected of carrying the bubonic plague. When the plague struck, the island served as a hospital. Thousands who didn’t survive are buried in the cemetery on the island.
The island of Lazzaretto Nuovo had an important role in protecting Venice from the black plague. The Venetian health authorities checked all merchant ships and travellers on arrival to the city. If they perceived any risk of infectious deceases, everybody and everything were placed in quarantine on the Lazzaretto Nuovo.
Over the centuries, thousands of workers passed through the island. Tens of thousands of sailors, travellers and others spent their quarantine period there. During the outbreaks of bubonic plague in the city, thousands perished on the island, isolated from the rest of the city..
Many of these people left something behind. Some, for example, a broken plate or cup. A few made a sign, a drawing or a writing on the walls. Others never left, their bones still resting in the graveyard.
The Tezon Grande, the main building from the 1560s and one of the largest ancient buildings in Venice, is now a museum.
There are unique writings and drawings on the walls, left by workers on the island in the late 1500s and 1600s.
Displays also include finds from the campo santo (graveyard) where the victims of the plague were buried and everyday items from antiquity until the 1800s.
Furthermore, the Lazzaretto Nuovo offers a unique opportunity to see the lagoon marshlands up close.
The Lazzaretto Nuovo visit
Naturally, a visit to the island will focus on the black plague in Venice and especially the role it had as a bulwark against the decease.
We’ll talk about the plague itself, how the it arrived in Venice and how the Venetians tried to protect themselves. Above all we’ll discuss how the Lazzaretto Nuovo played a central role in this. We’ll also explore the visible remains of the ancient quarantine station.
A good deal of the visit will be inside the Tezon Grande. The main attraction here is the one of a kind writings and drawings, made by the people who worked on the island three hundred years ago.
We need to take a boat to get to the Lazzaretto Nuovo island. It is about 5km from Venice city, in the northern lagoon. A part of the explanations will therefore be on the boat to the island.
There are other lazzaretti in Venice, but they’re not as accessible as Lazzaretto Nuovo.