Lazzaretto Nuovo – the Plague island

Drawings on the walls on Lazzaretto Nuovo island, from the 1500s

Lazzaretto Nuovo is one of the plague islands in Venice

In the name of Christ, Amen. In the year 1593, on the day 29th January, I, Antonio Moro, came here with seven good companions to cleanse the merchandise of the galleon Somachio

Writing on the wall in the Tezon grande

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.

Unique writings and drawings cover the walls, left by workers on the island in the late 1500s and early 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.

Visit the island and the museum

The visits are organised by the non-profit EKOS Club, and have to be booked through them.

Regularly visits in English are scheduled each Saturday at 11am, usually from April until October. These visits cost €10/person, paid by credit card on the island.

The visits last about two hours.

Visits at other times are possible on request. Groups of fifteen persons or more are €10/person, while for smaller groups the price is €150 for the group. Payment is online before the visit, or by card on the island.

Whichever option you choose, just send an email with your request to and ask for a visit in English with René.

You can get to the Lazzaretto Nuovo island by vaporetto line 13 from Fondamente Nove. There’s at least one departure each hour. The trip takes about 25 minutes.

If you have any questions about visiting the Lazzaretto Nuovo, please send me an email.

More about the Lazzaretti