Lazzaretto Nuovo Island



There was originally a Benedictine monastery on the Lazzaretto Nuovo site but its history goes back to the Bronze Age. The ArcheoClub Venice, a volunteer organisation has been putting on events, conferences and digs to bring this history to a wider public.
In 2007 a donation from the Jean-Barthelemy Foundation, through Venice in Peril, preserved a series of inscriptions and decorations dating from 1580 to 1660, covering the plastered walls inside the 'Tezon Grando' (warehouse). This building is one of the largest internal spaces in Venice and was constructed to store the goods destined for the markets of Venice. Here they would have been treated by being smoked with juniper and other herbs thought to prevent spread of disease. The captains and crews themselves were also enclosed behind the walls of the Lazzaretto in accordance with strict regulations laid down by the Republic of Venice.

The elaborate graffiti on the plaster walls of the Tezon Grande would have been drawn with rough tools by those in quarantine and have been meticulously documented by Prof. Zarotti and students from the Accademia Belle Arti.

At the fall of the Republic the buildings of the Lazzaretto Nuovo were abandoned, being used subsequently by the Austrians as a gunpowder store. They have now been restored and house the increasing number of archaeological finds from the lagoon.

In 2019 the Italian government announced funding of €11 million for the restoration of the Lazzaretto Vecchio under a project dating back 20 years to share the remarkable story of early public healthcare that the Lazzaretto represents.

For a talk given on 23 June 2020 about the two Lazzaretto Islands by Jane Crawshaw-Stevens for supporters of Venice in Peril Fund: 'If walls could talk: experiences of Plague and Quarantine in Early Modern Venice' 

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