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 in the city. If they perceived any risk of infectious deceases, everybody and everything was 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 Lazzaretto Nuovo

I can offer private and bespoke visits to the Lazzaretto Nuovo.

If you prefer, I can meet you at your hotel or elsewhere in Venice, and take you there.

Availability depends on what other activities there are on the island, but email me with your request, and I’ll come back to you.

A normal visit requires two hours on the island, for the naturalistic walk and the guided visit to the museum.

Prices and options

A private visit to Lazzaretto Nuovo is €150 for up to 15 persons. For larger groups, the price is €15/person. In this case, you need to get to the island on your own, by taxi or public transport.

Alternatively, I can meet you at your hotel, and we’ll go there together by public transport or taxi. In that case, the price is €200 (or €20/person for groups of more than 15 persons). Transportation is not included in the price.

For smaller groups, up to four persons, I also offer boat tours in the lagoon. It is possible to visit the Lazzaretto during a lagoon boat tour. Such a visit is €100 on top of the price for the boat tour.

More about the Lazzaretti