Paddle around the Northern lagoon islands, appreciate the natural beauty of “Venice’s vegetable gardens” Sant’Erasmo and Vignole, and discover the Sant’Andrea fort built to protect the city from its enemies.
There is no better way to discover the hidden side of Venice – its islands, its water banks, its marshlands – than paddling through the lagoon in direct contact with the waters where the city was built on, without any negative environmental impact.
A kayak is the most genuine way to experience the calm waters surrounding the city: you will be able to navigate around the islands of Sant’Erasmo and Vignole, known as the vegetable gardens of Venice as they used to provide the Republic with fruits and vegetables. While watching the immense variety of the lagoon fauna you will get to the Lazzaretto Nuovo, where the “quarantine” was invented in the Middle Age to prevent Venice from diseases, and then to the Sant’Andrea Fort built in the 16th century to defend the lagoon from invaders and now reachable only by small boats or kayaks. Finally, a stop at the Certosa island will assure you a unique perspective on Venice and its unparalleled skyline.
This discovery tour by kayak is easy to handle and not too tiring. The actual paddling time will be around 2,5 hours and before starting the guided kayak excursion, you will be informed about: kayak paddling techniques, security measures and how to go on a kayak in the lagoon.
What to bring
What to expect
This island, known also as the “Venice’s vegetable garden”, will be our starting point of our kayak discovery tour. We will reach the island thanks to a water bus. Here we will take our kayaks and you will be introduced to basic knowledge of paddling and to safety rules.
Lazzaretto Novo island
The Venetian republic developed here the concept of “quarantine island”, a Venetian intuition then exported all over the world in the following centuries. The island became in 1468 a hospital with contagion prevention tasks: it housed the warehouses that were used to examine the goods suspected of being infected by the plague disease. It was then used as a fortress under Napoleonic and Austrian rule, and was abandoned by the Italian army in 1975. Now fully recovered and protected by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, it is one of the few abandoned islands of the Venice Lagoon to have undergone a decisive action of recovery and restoration.
Vignole Island is another unknown corner of the Venetian lagoon and, like its neighbour Sant’Erasmo, is a strip of land dedicated to horticulture. Holiday resort of the first Venetians, today few inhabitants live in Vignole in scattered houses interspersed with cultivated fields.
The Certosa island (or simply “La Certosa”) used to be inhabited by monks, evicted by the Napoleonic provisions in the XIX century. After being a military outpost until its definitive abandonment in the past years, the island has been undergoing a phase of redevelopment, with the establishment of a park that enhances its rich environmental heritage, where wild animals find shelter among white poplars, ash trees, privets, hawthorns, mulberries and other plants typical of the coasts.
A real hidden gem accessible only by kayak: a fortress designed by Architect Sanmicheli in the 16th century in the middle of the lagoon in front of the harbour mouth facing the Adriatic Sea. The fort was a form of dissuasion to be shown to visitors and ambassadors, especially Ottomans, rather than a real defensive work. The fort opened fire only once against an enemy ship, on April 20, 1797, on the eve of the fall of the Republic!
This host committed to Sonema COVID-19-related safety and cleaning guidelines—including adhering to social distancing guidelines, practicing good hygiene, and ensuring that all participants wear a mask.