La Certosa, close to Venice, yet abandoned since 1960; has now been developed into a fully serviced marina and green recreational space, popular with families and children and for hosting events.
Above: La Certosa, newly redeveloped with its marina and public green spaces. Behind is the Lido and Cavallino-Treporti; with the main entrance into the lagoon from the Adriatic sea, top left of centre. Le Vignole is just visible to the far centre left.
La Certosa is located north-east of Venice, less than 250 metres from San Pietro di Castello and little more than 500 metres the Lido.
Known as Isola della Certosa in Italian, it has an area 22 hectares (54 acres); with a 20 metre wide channel, separating it from the island of Le Vignole, to the east.
The island was abandoned since the 1960’s and hence unknown to most visitors.
However, a major development project started in 2010, that now includes a marina, boatyard, sailing school, a kayaking facility, a hotel and restaurant.
La Certosa is very green and an ideal place nearby, to escape the crowds of Venice; popular with families and children and host to various events.
Above: La Certosa’s great facilities – the marina, boatyard, sailing school, kayaking facility, hotel and restaurant/bar and green spaces.
San Pietro di Castello and Sant’Elena’s Vaporetto stops on Venice, are only a few minutes away. On arrival at the ACTV pontoon; a long wooden pier leads to La Certosa.
Unless you’re arriving by sailboat or powerboat, you have two main choices: the most affordable option is to catch one of the ACTV Line 4.1 (counter-clockwise) and 4.2 (clockwise) water buses. Alternatively, hire a water taxi.
The closest ACTV stations in Venice: San Pietro di Castello and Sant’Elena, are only a few minutes away. On arrival at the ACTV pontoon; a long wooden pier leads to the island.
To return, there is a bell on the vaporetto platform. When you press the button, you will see that a light is turned on to show the driver that you would like to be picked up. Make sure you select the right direction!
- The Alilaguna Linea Blu airport boat service between Venice Marco Polo Airport and San Marco stops at Certosa early in the morning and in the evening; subject to seasonal changes.
- The Venice Certosa Hotel runs a free shuttle boat for guests late at night, with service (on request) to and from the Sant’Elena ACTV waterbus stop in Venice.
Link to ACTV maps and timetables ,can help you check schedules for ACTV 4.1 and 4.2 boats: HERE
La Certosa has been settled since 1199. The first settlers were Augustinian monks; after they left, Carthusian monks arrived from Florence in 1422. The name Certosa, is derived from the Italian name of this order, the “Certosini”.
The 17th century “Castello delle Polveri” (Powder Castle), is the only historical edifice remaining today; restored from the late 1990’s onward.
The island later served as a Napoleonic and Italian military base and firing range. Its church and monastery complex was destroyed and its extensive artworks removed. All that remains and preserved, are the ruins of the cloisters. Afterwards, the Italian army built a munition factory on the island and used it as a shooting range. You can still see several bunkers from this military era in the park and along the marina.
When the army moved out in 1960, the island was abandoned for more than 20 years.
Left: Old print of the church, monastery and cloisters complex.
In 2010, plans were revealed for a project called “Parco della Certosa“, which would see redevelopment of the abandoned island in stages: to include a public green park with nature trails, a nautical centre and training school, water-based sports facilities, as well as hotel restaurant and bars facilities.
Unfortunately, the project was subject to delay, when a tornado struck the island; causing major damage to the island’s trees.
La Certosa. The small island of 22 hectares or 54 acres consists mostly of a public park where children and dogs can run free on the grass amid trees, exotic plants and the ruins of an ancient cloister that gave the island its name. Children especially will enjoy the goats and rabbits that live on the island.
Since 2010, Certosa has undergone a major restoration project, making it an attractive as a place to spend two or three hours away from the crowds in Venice’s main tourist areas.
The island also has a yachting centre, the Venezia Certosa Marina, which is convenient if you’re arriving in your own boat. The marina’s buildings and the hotel are clustered at the north-western corner of the island, close to the ACTV waterbus station.
Venezia Certosa Marina offers safe, fully equipped moorings in a splendid lagoon setting. It is a huge complex without any architectural barriers, offering 300 berths for 5 to 60 metre-long boats; mostly on floating docks with water, electricity and Wi-Fi. It offers a wide range of integrated services for recreational boating, sports, environmental education and sustainable tourism and includes mooring facilities, a boatyard for construction and maintenance of boats, a sailing school and space for temporary events.
It has a sailing school, a boatyard, and moorings for up to 300 boats with a maximum length of 60 meters (196 feet). There is also a kayaking facility on the island.
Above: Looking across La Certosa with adjacent Le Vignole at top right. Beautiful green public space, with ruins of the old cloister in foreground.
If you are looking for a place to stay, or simply like to have a drink or a meal; the 18-room Venice Certosa Hotel is located next to the marina, a short walk from the ACTV vaporetto pier. Hotel Website: HERE
There is a dedicated building, housing the marina’s toilets and self-service laundry facility.
City utilities supply water and electricity to the island.
The island is popular with dog owners, dog walkers, and families. Children are surprised by the number of rabbits and goats found on the island.
The nearby beaches on the island of Lido and at Cavallino-Treporti; are close-by. The island offers panoramic views over Venice and the Lido, especially at sunrise or sunset.
Above: Evening light over the Marina with Venice behind
The “Vento di Venezia” administrative team regularly organises events, BBQ’s and other festivities; so this could be an additional incentive to visit the island. Website:HERE.
When you plan to visit Certosa, make sure to check the Facebook page of Vento di Venezia. You can find all the upcoming events there.
La Certosa depends for its electricity and water, from the mainland. A program was launched together with Terna, the Italian electricity grid operator, to turn Certosa into a renewable energy island. During a 3-year project, they planned to test electric vehicles and recharging stations, ICT systems for public lighting and broadband connectivity, energy efficiency, photovoltaic systems, mini-wind turbines and batteries for electricity storage. These proposals, should allow the island to move towards localised energy management.
Please see my other posts in the series “Islands of the Lagoon”: HERE
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