The first record of the island appears in the first half of the tenth century in the administrative records of Constantine VII of the Byzantine Empire. The island was a port in the Duchy of Venice attached to Murano. At the end of the 16th century it was described as an island full of vegetable gardens and vineyards that supplied to the city vegetables and fruits "in abundance and perfect". It is now known for market gardening. A typical product is castraure, artichokes picked early.
Ruined fortifications, including the so-called Torre Massimiliana (Tower of Maximilian), ring the isle. Forts existed in the island as early as the 16th century. After the fall of the Republic of Venice, the French built here a stronghold in 1811-1814. After Napoleon's defeat, the Austrian Archduke Maximilian of Austria-Este had a tower built here in 1843-1844, and also found here refuge during a revolt. The tower has a polygonal base of 25 m and is surrounded by a ditch. On the upper floor up to 13 cannons could be housed. It was used by the Italian Army as late as World War I.
It can be reached, with hourly connections day and night, from Venice (Fondamente Nuove), Murano and from Cavallino Treporti with line 13 of the ACTV steamboats (about 30 min).
Massimiliana towerThe Massimiliana tower is a circular plan structure built between 1843 and 1844 on the extreme southern tip of the island of Sant'Erasmo, above the foundations of an earlier French fort. Surrounded by a moat and an irregular polygonal bank, it was placed in defense of the port mouth of Lido. It was built on the order the Archduke Maximilian of Austria. It is the only example of this type of tower still existing in Italy. It was used during the Second World War as an anti-aircraft battery, and occupied by German troops in 1943. In April 1945 the retreating Germans seriously damaged it in an attempt to blow it up. It was used in the post-war period as a precarious housing by the displaced, and later used as an agricultural warehouse. In the late 1990s, it fell into a state of total abandonment. It was restored in 2004, and hosts art and photography exhibitions and cultural events.
- The Church of Cristo Re was consecrated in 1929, shortly after the establishment of the parish of Sant'Erasmo (1926). Designed by Brenno Del Giudice, it has three naves. Worthy of note is the façade that slopes from the center to the sides according to vertical segments marked by pilasters and moved in the upper part by curvilinear elements. Inside there is a Martyrdom of Sant'Erasmo, from the school of Tintoretto.
- An annual boat race takes place during the summer.
- Sant'Erasmo is also known for the waders on sandbanks in the lagoon surrounding it.
- Festa del must takes place on the first or second Sunday of October. It is an event dedicated to the must, the freshly crushed juice used in making wine. It is actually "torbolino", a wine made from white grapes, not totally fermented, turbid, slightly sparkling and lovable.
- Feast of Christ the King, patron saint, the first Sunday of June, at the village square.
- Befana (6 January), in which at 05:00 a "berolon" (bonfire) is erected a few steps from the square; they offer pancakes, sweets and mulled wine.
- Festival of violet artichoke, with tasting and sale of local products and demonstrations of different ways of cooking artichoke; takes place on the second Sunday of May at the Torre Massimiliana. Although it is a recent institution, the event is finding many admirers.
Eat and drink
- Bar Tedeschi
- Restaurant at Il lato azzurro hotel - Mediterranean cooking, with vegetarian options using vegetables fresh from the island. 12:00-15:00, 20:00-22:00.
phone: +39 041 5230642address: via dei Forti 13The only hotel on the island. All prices includes breakfast. There is also a little nice restaurant and it is possible to have meals with natural and local products for smart prices. Bicycle hire available.