“Isola San Francesco del Deserto”
Media: acrylic on canvas
Size: 100 x 100 cm
This island is a green oasis of calm amongst the sandbanks surrounding Burano. On his return from Palestine, the Saint from Assisi stopped in the lagoon at Torcello, a rich and crowded city at the time, and seeking solitude, he went to the Isola delle Due Vigne, as the island was known then, to pray. Once back in Assisi, Saint Francis sent some of his fellow monks to that place of prayer and meditation. In 1228, two years after the death of Francis, the island’s owner, a rich patrician, had a church built in his name and several years later donated the island to the Franciscans. Given the unwholesome climate, the friars were forced to abandon it and it was given the name Saint Francis of the desert. Around 1450 the friars returned and enlarged the church, the monastery and lived there until 1806 when, following the confiscation of monasteries by Napoleon, was abandoned once again when it was turned into a military barracks and powder magazine. Francis I of Austria donated the island to the Venetian Patriarchy in 1856 and on the 31 May of that year, the Franciscan friars solemnly took possession once more. It has been completely restored and maintained with a magnificent garden and is still a place of Franciscan prayer.