As beautiful as Italy is on the outside, the feeling I have when I’m in Armenia is on another level (on the inside). I was starting to miss Yerevan halfway during my Italy trip, so a friend from London who had been to Italy urged that I visit the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni in Venice, where the Mekhitarian Order is based. If you’re not familiar with it, definitely read up on it on Wikipedia.
As soon as the boat docked (after a 15-minute ride from Piazza San Marco) and I saw the word “Armenia” I instantly got goosebumps. There was a small group of other tourists, none that looked Armenian, and there was even a group of students on a field trip from London. It was special to hear their teacher telling them about the Armenian Genocide. We explored the monastery grounds, which houses various artworks from Armenian artists, and the lush gardens in the center. The most touching part was entering the church; I’ve seen many a church between my stay in Armenia and visit to Italy, but I’ve never choked up like I did there.
Hearing Armenian in Italy also gave me chills. First we passed a guide giving a tour of the grounds in Armenian, then it turned out that the bookstore employee was an Iranian Armenian lady and the man at the door selling tickets was also Armenian, though he didn’t look it at all.
If you’re ever in Venice, San Lazzaro is a must see. In the meantime, here are some scenes I captured during my visit.