“Isola di San Giacomo in Palude”
Media: pastel on card
Size: 17,5 x 17,5 cm
The first historical records referring to this island appear in 1046, when Doge Orso Badoer gave a large section of “paluo” or swampland to Giovanni Trono of Mazzorbo in order to build a monastery dedicated to Saint James the Apostle. A century later the monastery passed over to the Cistercian order and was enlarged around the year 1238.
In 1440 it was abandoned by the remaining nuns and was used for the convalescence of lepers from San Lazzareto during the great plague of 1456. In 1469 it was handed over to the Franciscans as an adjunct to the monastery for the friars of Venice.
During the last years of the Republic, the island was inhabited by a lay person who found a most particular way of asking for alms from the passing boats: he would put out a long rod with a purse attached at the end and hang it over any boats that came along the canal. Around 1810 the complex was demolished leaving only a neo Gothic altar dedicated to the Madonna. Until a few years ago it was still a point of pilgrimage for the sea going population.
It hosted a military garrison at the beginning of the 20th century. Three houses have been built on the still visible remains, which are still standing, even if they are precarious. The island was abandoned in 1964 and is now part of one of the Murano parishes. In 1975 the Biennale di Venezia used it to show a series of theatre pieces.