Sant’Erasmo: Venice vegetable garden – Purple Artichoke Festival May 12th 2019

Sant’Erasmo is an island in the Venice lagoon, half an hour by vaporetto from the Fondamente Nove (Line 13). To explore it we recommend you a walk through its characteristic vegetable fields, vineyards and orchards, surrounded by the breathtaking lagoon scenery.


Sant’Erasmo purple artichoke

From the sixteenth century, the island is known as the “Venice vegetable garden“, due to its large concentration of vegetable gardens and cultivated fields, which for generations have provided fruit and vegetables to the historic center. Among the many local crops, artichokes undoubtedly stand out above all. The variety grown on the lagoon took its name from this island, Sant’Erasmo purple artichoke. The right season to taste this tender, fleshy and elongated vegetable, is from the end of April, when the first small apical artichoke buds, called castraùre, are ready to be picked off. Harvest continues until the end of June.


A typical product of the Lagoon area

Today there are very few artichoke growers in the lagoon and they suffer more and more the competition of the products coming from other parts of Italy, passed off as Sant’Erasmo artichokes and sold at lower prices. For this a Consortium has been established, followed by the institution of a Slow Food Presidium, which have brought together the growers of the lagoon islands in order to distinguish and add value to the authentic local artichoke grown in Venice.


Sant’Erasmo Purple Artichoke Festival 

The best way to discover this tasty typical product of the lagoon is taking part to the Sant’Erasmo Purple Artichoke Festival, an annual enogastronomical kermesse held on May 12th on the island of Sant’Erasmo. For the occasion, at the Torre Massimiliana, tastings will be organized and you will have the possibility to buy local products directly from producers.