‘It smells of cardamom and cinnamon, of oregano, roses, violets, of supple of cypress branches, of exiled nightingales, this rare and priceless jewel’. Thus an Armenian poet described this enchanting island.
A little piece of the Orient, and a gift to us from an ancient culture that affords a tranquil oasis offering peace and quiet.
This small island, sitting in the Lagoon between the Lido and Lazzaretto Vecchio, is completely occupied by a monastery and headquarters of the Mekhitarist monastic order.
The island is one of the world’s prominent centres of Armenian culture. It is home to a wonderful garden, with rows of pine trees and a rose garden of dog roses from whose petals the monks make their famous Vartanush jam to an ancient recipe; a wonderful and exceedingly rare delicacy. The roses are picked at the end of spring just as the sun is rising. The essential oil is bright red in colour and possesses a heady scent. The jam can be purchased only at certain times of the year, and visits to the island are regulated by a strict timetable.