Monday, October 1, 2007

San Francesco del Deserto

Everyone has their own website nowadays, even the monks on this secluded island in the lagoon of Venice.

Venice proper (which in itself is made up of islands, connected to the mainland only in the last century by railroad and a causeway) has so much to offer that foreigners, and even other Italians, don't often venture to the other islands in the lagoon. Big mistake. Venice is wedded to the sea, and its very beginnings were not on central Rialto but on the outlying island of Torcello.

San Francesco del Deserto is one of my favorites. It is said that Saint Francis himself stopped here around 1220, where he was greeted by his numerous feathered fellows. Inhabited by a small number of Franciscans, it can be reached from colorful Burano by rented boat.

Their site
is spare and indeed Franciscan. Don't be put off by the headings in Italian- the pages are actually bilingual, with the English following the Italian.