Benvenuti - Welcome!
Thank you so much for reading La Terrazza, a garden magazine + newsletter from Venice!
La Terrazza is a cozy and favorite place: Protected by a thick groviglio of wisteria, roses, and uva fragola grapes, it overlooks Campo San Zaccaria, which is located five minutes from Saint Mark’s square.
A perfect spot for lunch on a parching summer day (we get so many of these in Venice lately), and a favorite meeting place for dinner with friends and the family.
Well, actually it’s not just one but seven terraces (one of them is too hot to be used, as we tell in this story). Un giardino pendente or movimentato - a hanging garden, ideal to host a great variety of edible plants.
We call the garden La Terrazza, but it has a special story to tell, as all places have here in Venice. Ours is this garden located on the premises of the monastery San Zaccaria. This garden called El Brolo1 is the oldest in Venice: In the 8th century, its orchards and vineyards stretched all the way from San Moisé on the Grand Canal, to San Giovanni in Bragora.
The nuns of San Zaccaria donated a large part of the garden to the fledgling Republic, turned into Piazza San Marco. East of the Piazza, merchants from Greece and Dalmatia were settling along and behind Riva degli Schiavoni. The nuns just kept the area around their monastery as private orchard, vineyard and herb garden.
This last portion of their garden is still alive: Since 1968, Nonna Lina’s family and her neighbors have been taking care of it.
When you grow up in a garden like this, you do get curious … Since I was a child, I used to read each and every book and magazine on Venetian gardens. My grandfather, a passionate gardener, and my father, an architect, taught me a lot about gardens and gardening in the Lagoon. And from 2001, I began exploring the library of the former monastery. What we found wasn’t just recipes but surprising documents about the vast estates and fishing grounds owned by the nuns in the Lagoon!
In 2015, grandmother and I started hosting retreats in the garden! Just wonderful to exchange stories and perspectives with our guests while tasting Nonna’s home-made cakes and drinks made from garden ingredients.
But then, in November 2019, the garden was severely damaged by the worst storm and acqua granda (flood) since 1966. Hopefully, we can offer garden retreats, mini cooking classes and the garden breakfast in 2023 or 2024.
If you’d like to remain in touch and discover news and garden stories, and of course, Nonna’s botanical cuisine and historical dishes from Venice, do sign up below!
Terrazza San Zaccaria is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, please subscribe to our Newsletter and become a member.
If you decide to upgrade to the Paid Premium Magazine + Newsletter, you receive immediate access to:
Garden in Venice Magazine (4-6 garden stories per month, botanical portraits, the Venetian garden calendar, garden recipes and stories about San Zaccaria and Venetian garden culture, etc).
La Terrazza - the Gardens of San Zaccaria as e-book.
Preferred access to our garden dinners + garden aperitifs.
Special giveaways for premium subscribers.
Q&A’s posts for premium subscribers, answering your questions about Venice, Venetian & Mediterranean food and gardens.
In addition to the above, if you decide to support La Terrazza as Founding Member, you also receive once a year:
Our refreshing Venetian “Summer Garden Tea Package” consisting of carefully selected black tea enriched with a blossom and herb essence from the San Zaccaria gardens, made according to a recipe from the monastery library.
A private video talk of 45 minutes to help you plan your perfect green trip to Venice: Visit and discover secret gardens, garden hotels and restaurants, plus a written version of your personalized program for a day dedicated to the gardens of Venice.
We can’t wait to share the garden stories and recipes with you! Thank you for reading, and we hope you’ll enjoy them! Iris and Lina
El Brolo: Brolo in Venetian means orchard / vegetable garden, and that's what it was until the year 568 AD, when the nuns of San Zaccaria donated a portion of their garden to the fledgling Republic.