In the small island of San Lazzaro, so beloved by the poet Byron, the monastery of the Armenian rises, surrounded by an enormous garden. The Gothic church of San Lazzaro is annexed to the monastery, rebuilt during the 19th century.
At the beginning, the island of San Lazzaro was designated as leper colony (San Lazzaro is actually the protector of leprous people). Then it was abandoned until 1717, when it was assigned to Manug di Pietro, called Mechitar (“the comforting”), a noble Armenian monk who escaped Modone, occupied by the Ottoman Empire, and founded there a monastery.
After restablishing the church and the cloister, Mechitar promoted its beliefs to the East, thanks to young compatriot he housed and educated.
Scientific, literary and religious works were translated into Armenian from different languages; in 1786, after the death of Mechitar, a polyglot typography was established, so the Mechitarist Armenian Fathers' organization was born.
The monastery avoid Napoleon’s suppression, since he considered the organization a literary academy.
In the cloister there are an art gallery, a museum, an 18th century’ print house, where Egyptian, Oriental and Roman archeological discoveries are kept, besides a rich collection of Armenian manuscripts.
In the rich library, there are many paintings by Palma il Giovane and Ricci, besides a beautiful fresco by Tiepolo.
Still today around the little church - rebuilt after a fire on 1883- and around the cloister lives a real place of prayer and study, being San Lazzaro an actual Armenian island in the heart of the lagoon.
Address: Isola di S.Lazzaro degli Armeni cap 30100 - Venezia
Opening times: 15.25-17.25 (one guided tour a day)
Price: full € 6 reduced € 4,50
Group (min 35 pax) € 4,50.
Children and students € 3
How to get there: num 10/20 ferry boat stop S.Lazzaro ( da San Zaccaria alle ore 15.10)