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San Francesco del deserto island
San Francesco del Deserto - Venice
San Francesco del Deserto is located in the northern lagoon not far from Burano and the western edge of the island of St. Erasmo.

Frequented since the late Roman Empire the island however owes its name to the saint patron of Italy San Francesco, which settled here after returning from his trip to the Holy Land. The saint, who arrived by boat to Torcello, preferred to move to a quieter island where perhaps there was already a chapel and here built a hut (1220). After a few years after the death of Francesco the patrician Jacopo Michiel, owner of the island, wanted the construction of a church named for the saint. On March 4, 1233 Michiel ceded the island to the Franciscans who built a monastery and permanently settled until 1420 when, following the worsening climate in Laguna, they left the island. It was then that it assumed its present name of San Francesco del Deserto.

History of the island started again when Pope Pius II granted the island to the Friars Minor Observant (1453) who restored the church, the convent and built the Renaissance cloister. To them, a decision by Pope Clement VIII, succeeded the Reformed Friars Minor (1594) that planting of cypresses the island and restored the refectory. San Francesco del Deserto became so an important spiritual seat of the Venetian Republic until its fall by Napoleon Bonaparte (1797) whose troops gave themselves to the looting of works of art kept on the island.
The monastery was active until 1806 when it was closed down following the Napoleonic edict sanctioning the suppression of religious orders, following which the brothers returned to Venice leaving the island that became a military garrison and a powder magazine.
Passed to Austrians the island was donated by Francis I of Austria (December 23, 1856) to the patriarch of Venice, which granted it in perpetuity to the Franciscan Friars Minor who returned two years later (May 31, 1858). The friars restored the two fourteenth-century and Renaissance cloisters and rebuild the church.

The island is reachable only by boat or from the island of Burano's where a gentleman offers his boat to reach it daily. For your visit you can ask even to the monks who live in San Francesco del Deserto. For those who like it's also possible to stay for a few days in a monastery in exchange for an offer.

Web Site: San Francesco del Deserto

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