San Francesco del Deserto
San Francesco del Deserto
4.5
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles125 reviews
Excellent
85
Very good
31
Average
5
Poor
2
Terrible
2

LaDolceVita27
King's Lynn, UK343 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Couples
It took us 2 attempts to complete this trip but once we enlisted the assistance of our concierge at Ca' Pisani it proved surprisingly straightforward. If you ring 347 9922959 (or get your concierge to do so) you can arrange for Massimiliano to meet you at his boat, just on your right as you disembark from the vaporetto in Burano. (Line 12 from Fondamente Nove or 7 from S Zaccaria, near San Marco, changing at Murano Faro.) A short trip across the water (10 euros pp return) takes you to the island. Massimiliano rings the bell and, once a friar appears, will tell him (if necessary) that you speak no Italian. You are then given a good explanatory leaflet in English and left to wander at your own speed.

The experience itself is magical especially if, like us, you have come an hour or two earlier from the hellish crowds packing irreverently into St Marks's Basilica during the tourist season. The location is, as the name conveys, isolated; you look out across marshes and water towards Burano but it is extremely tranquil. The gardens are very attractive in an austere way; lots of pines and olive trees with pots of flowers and some sculptures of varying degrees of attractiveness. (Our visit coincided with an exhibition Beyond the Mystical Landscape which demonstrated that there is nothing quite as pretentious as an artist's explanation of his or her inspiration.)

The original church itself is small but very striking. There are no golden artefacts or mosaics, just well-restored brick and a few homely icons: this feels like a place where you might be genuinely contemplative if you are of a religious persuasion. The courtyards are equally spare but attractive although the more appealing one, which can be seen through a gate, is reserved for the friars and those on retreat here.
Written September 26, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

calumthemighty
durham, NC USA402 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2012 • Family
Venice was the first stop on our 3 week Italian vacation, with a stay in Assisi also planned. Visiting this tranquil Franciscan monastery seemed to fit our theme, and was something we were unable to do the previous year (2011).

We rented a taxi boat for a 4 hour lagoon cruise. San Francesco del Deserto was our first stop. Getting there was half the fun. It is very close to Burano, so the journey there was very picturesque. (There is no public transportation to San F. del Deserto, so you must arrange a private boat of some sort.)

Visiting hours are posted on the island's website ( http://www.sanfrancescodeldeserto.it ): 9am to 11am and 3pm to 5pm (15:00 to 17:00). No visitors allowed on Monday. To be safe, you could call ahead ( Tel e fax: +39 041.5286863 ), but we did not.

Once you arrive at the island's dock, follow the path to the monastic complex. (The areas you are not allowed to visit are walled.) Knock on the outer door, and then wait for a monk to admit you. This may take a little while. We almost gave up and left! Do not leave, however; it is really wonderful to be led through the complex by one of the gentle Franciscans. The monk who took us through the tour spoke very little English, but was very accommodating. My wife asked him to speak slowly, in simple Italian, and he did, so we were able to understand most of his explanations of the island's history.

If you do not speak Italian, fear not. There is an excellent little "Visitor's Orientation Guide" in English, available in their little gift shop. This gift shop has plenty of Franciscan related items for sale on the honor system. Be generous, and pick out some memorable souvenirs for yourself, or gifts for loved ones back home.

There is no food available, and picnics are not allowed. Basic bathroom facilities are provided down a short path outside the main entrance.
Written September 29, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christina C
Raleigh, NC33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Friends
Put simply, San Francesco del Deserto is the most serene place I've ever visited. No crowds, no automobiles; just a beautiful verdant island surrounded by the sea. We visited the Franciscan Monastery on the island and were given a short tour by a friar who lives there (and speaks no English). He was delightful! At the time, there was also sort of an art installation inside the monastery. The friar was excited to show us how interactive parts of the exhibit worked (for instance, there was a crank that you could spin which, in turn, lit up petrified calf hearts).

The grounds were extremely well-maintained and we enjoyed walking around the island. There is a good view of Burano in the monastery's gardens. Don't forget to bring a camera!
Written May 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dick S
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Couples
We paid in advance 22 euros for transportation to the island, we’re given a time and place to meet the boat. Arrived 30 minutes before the appointed time, stayed till 30 minutes after. Boat never came. Locals assured me I had the time and place right. The appointed place had a big sign: Embarco per San Francesco del Deserto.
Written October 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John A
Bristol, UK131 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Couples
S Francesco del Deserto, a small island in the Venice lagoon near Burano, is an oasis of calm, tranquility and spiritual uplift in the midst of a busy, bustling world.
I have often read about it and longed to visit but my guide books said the only way of getting there was by an outrageously expensive taxi or private boat as it is not served by public transport.
So I was delighted to find a boat service based just a few yards from the water bus stop from Burano was available. A notice gave a telephone number and said prebooking and a minimum of four people was necessary. But when the boatman turned up he agreed to take just my wife and me to the island for only €10 each and wait an hour to take us back.
The island is home to a small Franciscan community and we were met by a Friar who though he spoke no English made us very welcome and showed us around.
The island has long been inhabited - archaeological remains date from Roman times - and was visited by St Francis in 1220 who founded the community. The island got its name because it was abandoned for 20 years in the 15th century because of the unhealthy state if the lagoon and a malaria outbreak. The community was also exiled in Napoleonic times when the island was used for a military gunpowder store.
We toured peaceful cloisters, a beautiful church, Friary buildings and immaculately kept gardens and admired wonderful art works.
There is no charge for the visit but visitors can make a donation though there is no pressure to do so.
I recommend a visit to the island for anyone who wants a break from the commotion and crowds and seeks a time of peace and reflection.
Written April 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris W
Venice, Italy395 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Friends
We have been often by boat, sometimes rowing, sometimes by engine. It has to be the most magical place in the lagoon, Two wonderful cloisters, the early church and an interesting modern one. Walking around the grounds you are transported back to 1300s. You have to pinch yourself that such places still exist.
Make the effort, it is worth it.
Written October 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

caroline_venezia
Venice, Italy34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Couples
We visited the island this afternoon via vaporetto to Burano, then as passengers on a private boat from there for a very reasonable E10pp return (booked via http://www.lagunaescursioni.com/). Currently departures are at 2.30pm every day except Monday. The pilot was a very jolly bloke who chatted about the island & other lagoon matters on the way, which takes about 15 minutes. There were another 6 visitors on board & at the monastery we were joined by another 4 who'd apparently come on their own boat.

The tour was conducted by a very nice young brother and lasted about an hour. We were happy with Italian so I'm not sure if the brother might have been able to provide commentary in English (or any other langauge) or not, but German fellow visitors were given a leaflet in German to help them.

We saw various public parts of the monastery and the lovely gardens, it was all lovely and felt very peaceful and spiritual. In a room at the end, various leaflets, books and gifts are available together with an 'honesty box' for donations and a vistors' book in which masses can be requested.
Written September 24, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tvkelly
North Carolina133 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2013 • Friends
An unexpected aside to our trip to Murano, our guide was able to get us into the Franciscan Monastery an this lovely island. We had a tour by one of the Friars who described the history of the monastery. Truly a place of Peace and Good!
Written September 25, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dven8
Vicenza, Italy382 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Couples
Although we had read and studied a lot about Venice over the years, we still learned a lot from the guide, a Franciscan monk. The history is complex and fascinating, and the architecture is very interesting and just as complex. Well worth a visit.
Written August 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ronger5
Israel324 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2015 • Friends
The monastery of San Francesco del Deserto is on an island, halfway between San Erasmo and Burano. The monastery started by Saint Francis. It is covered with beautiful lawns and fruit trees. We parked our river boat near the entrance and walked in. We were greeted by a Franciscan brother who showed us around and told us about the place, its history and inhabitants. We spent there 3 hours and enjoyed every minute.
Written September 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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