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Medieval Quarantine Islands Now Proud Symbols of Venice's Heritage and Ecology

By Fondazione Italia Patria della Bellezza


In Venice’s lagoon are two islands, the Lazzaretto Vecchio and the Lazzaretto Nuovo, which are special symbols of identity and resistance for a city that is under great pressure from mass tourism and climate change.

Lazzaretto Vecchio


Dating back to the 15th century, the hospitals on the Lazaretto Vecchio (1403), located just off the Lido of Venice, and the Lazaretto Nuovo (1468), 3km Northeast of Venice at the entrance of the lagoon, were built to care for & quarantine contagious people during the plague epidemics.


Situated at the crossroads of passages and encounters between different cultures, the Republic of Venice implemented the first real public health strategy for the control of infectious diseases. The Lazzaretti were, in fact, at the center of innovation that made it possible to overcome the fear of disease and to put into practice methodologies that still today, amid the dramatic events of our times, allow the whole world to envisage a serene future, with innovative solutions to complex problems.


Lazzaretto Nuovo


Thanks to a pioneering non-profit recovery project, the Venetian Lazzaretti, which have marked the threshold of entry to Venice for three centuries, today tell their important story to thousands of visitors by way of an ecomuseum and various other activities that conserve and enhance this delicate territory.


Path of the Barene


With its unique landscape, the Lazzaretto Nuovo also tells a valuable story of biodiversity, thanks to the Path of the Barene - a nature walk along the old route the sentinels followed on their rounds, which features installations by the Venice Museum of Natural History. It is dedicated to the typical environment of the Venetian Lagoon and its rare ecosystem, which is at risk of disappearing.


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