The little-known island of Mazzorbo is only a 40-minute vaporetto ride from Venice yet it feels like a world away. Few tourists disembark on the island heading instead to its more famous neighbours Burano or Torcello.
Once a large trading centre in the Venetian Lagoon, Mazzorbo lost its importance in the 10th century when trading activities were moved to Torcello. It became a holiday location for the Venetian nobles and nowadays is known for its beautiful vineyards, artichoke fields and fruit orchards supplying the city with fresh produce. The island is car-free and you can cycle or walk along stretches of neat cultivated land and few scattered houses in peace. Winston Churchill loved coming here with his easel to paint in silence.
Mazzorbo’s main attraction is the 8th century the Church of Santa Caterina restructured a few times but still retaining some original features and an ancient air about it. Sit here in silence and admire its 16th century marble floor worn with age, beautiful fading frescoes, elaborate carvings on the wooden confession box. The church’s bell tower built in 1318 is believed to be one of the oldest in the lagoon.
Every summer a country fayre is held on the island for both locals and visitors. There is music, games and, naturally, traditional dishes such as "Luganega e Costesine" (sausages and ribs) served with fried Polenta and washed down with local wine.
|Wineyards in Mazzorbo|
Mazzorbo is linked to Burano by an old long bridge called by the locals "Ponte Longo". Before you move on to Burano, make sure you sample the island’s delicious cuisine. The Michelin-starred Venissa Restaurant serves traditional dishes with a modern twist. Trattoria Alla Maddalena is is famed for its pasta with a wild duck sauce (“tagliatelle all'anatra selvatica”) and local artichoke, castraura of Mazzorbo, dishes.
The Via della Vigna Winebar has excellent local wines and freshly caught fish.
Photos via Flickr by: Michael Day, Hunter Nield.