Isola del Lazzaretto Nuovo

Murano, Burano & the Northern Islands

From 1468 until the 18th century, this tiny island served as a quarantine station. Merchants waited out their 40-day exile in one of the 100 cells that lined the 100m-long, 16th-century Tezon Grande, trying to avoid the plague while city officials fumigated their cargoes with burning juniper and rosemary branches. In the warmer months the island may be visited on a tour (in Italian; English-speaking guides can be arranged for a €50 fee), focusing on its history, archaeology and nature.

Every summer since 1988 university students, amateur archaeologists and schoolchildren have made the journey out to continue work on the Tezon Grande. Archaeological groups have catalogued hundreds of artefacts and uncovered extensive graffiti itemising ships' cargoes and describing harrowing voyages from Cyprus and Constantinople. You can join them on a weeklong summer dig (€490 including food and accommodation).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Murano, Burano & the Northern Islands attractions

1. Torre Massimiliana

0.85 MILES

A restored 19th-century Austrian fort, sometimes used for art exhibitions.

2. Beach

0.89 MILES

A small beach near the Torre Massimiliana, with a seasonal bar serving coffee and pizza.

3. Basilica dei SS Maria e Donato

1.42 MILES

Fire-breathing is the unifying theme of Murano’s medieval church, with its astounding 12th-century gilded-glass apse mosaic of the Madonna made in Murano…

4. Murano

1.44 MILES

Murano has been the home of Venetian glass-making since the 13th century. Today, artisans continue to ply their trade at workshops dotted around the…

5. Museo del Vetro

1.44 MILES

Since 1861, Murano’s glass-making prowess has been celebrated in Palazzo Giustinian, the home of bishops of Torcello from 1689 until the diocese's…

6. Faro di Murano

1.56 MILES

Murano's white lighthouse only dates to 1934, but it's a distinctive island landmark. It's not open to the public.

7. Chiesa di San Pietro Martire

1.64 MILES

Take a pause from glass shopping to check out The Baptism of Christ, attributed to Tintoretto, in 16th-century St Peter the Martyr's Church. The parish…

8. Santa Chiara – The Glass Cathedral

1.76 MILES

There are authentic glass factories on Murano offering cheaper demonstrations and turning out far finer work, but this furnace – housed within a…