San Francesco del Deserto is open from 09.00-11.00 and 15.00-17.00 Tuesday-Saturday, 15.00-17.00 on Sundays and is closed on Mondays. It is also closed on certain other days. Full details should be shown on the website, but this currently appears to be down:
As San Francesco del Deserto is not connected to the vaporetto (water bus) network, the only way to get there is by private boat from Burano. You should first try calling the monastery on 041 528 6863 to make sure it is open (+39 041 528 6863 if calling from outside Italy). You may or may not get a reply. Then try calling Massimiliano on 347 9922959 (+39 347 9922959 if calling from outside Italy). Massimiliano runs the little boat which will take you to the monastery from Burano for 10 euros return. Neither the monks, nor Massimiliano will speak English, so if you don’t speak Italian, you need to find an Italian speaking friend to call for you, as I did, or ask a hotel reception to call if you are already in Italy.
For afternoon visits, Massimiliano’s boat leaves at 14.30 from a little landing stage about 100 metres from the main vaporetto stop- walk along the waterfront with the water on your right. Up to date information about getting to San Francesco del Deserto can be found at:
To reach Burano from central Venice in time to connect with Massimiliano’s boat, you need to take the number 12 vaporetto from Fondamente Nove. To be sure, you should take the 13.10, arriving at Burano at 13.52, although the next one at 13.35, arriving Burano at 14.22 is probably OK, especially as Massimiliano’s boat actually left slightly later than 14.30 when I did it. When planning vaporetti connections, bear in mind that they can occasionally get full and turn people away (it happened to me on the number 1). Also, while they are generally reliable, delays can occur. I’d taken the 4.1 round from St Mark’s to Fondamente Nove, which had been due to arrive at 12.54, but was 10 minutes late, so I had to hurry to connect with the number 12 to Burano at 13.10.
For the full vaporetto timetable for the number 12 and other routes see:
Don’t worry if you appear to be waiting by yourself at the landing stage at Burano. Other people will appear and Massimiliano will too, even though there is no notice anywhere about this service.
I visited San Francesco del Deserto in the afternoon. I expect that for morning visits, Massimiliano’s boat will leave around 08.30. If you are coming from central Venice, this will mean a very early start, probably before hotel breakfast times, so visiting in the afternoon looks a better option.
Once you get to the monastery, you will be met by one of the monks, who will give a tour in Italian, and hand out a leaflet in English for non-Italian speakers. The tour of the monastery is free, but it’s fair to make a donation of a few euros, and also consider buying something from the shop as a nice souvenir from a rarely visited Venetian location and to support the monastery.
The tour lasts for around an hour and a half. After the tour is over, Massimiliano will take you back to Burano.