“Isola di Poveglia”
Media: acrylic on canvas
Size: 102x 102 cm
This island used to be called Popilia, either after the abundance of poplars growing there or after Pompilio Lena, a Roman consul who built the northern part of the Via Emilia close to the island. In the 5th century the people of Padua and Ferrarra sheltered here from the Barbarian invasions. It was abandoned by them with the arrival of Pepin the Younger.
In 809, the island was populated by about 200 Venetian families. These were servants of Doge Pietro Tradonico who, after his assassination had barricaded themselves in the doge’s palace for 40 days in an attempt to obtain justice. The succeeding doge, Orso Partecipazio, gave them Poveglia as well as a multitude of other concessions in order to clear the matter up. The community thrived and in less than a century over 800 houses were built. However, the war of Chioggia led to the island being abandoned once again. The octagonal fort which can still be seen today was built then to protect the island. This was the beginning of Poveglia’s decline.
The island was offered to the Camaldolese order for a convent in 1527, but they turned the offer down. In 1777 the island was put under the aegis of the department of health, and it was turned into a leprosarium in 1814. It became a convalescent home in 1900 until 1968. It is currently for sale.