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Nuns Having Fun: The Prequel

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Guidebooks for Venice tell you to find time to "get lost" in the city, as if this is something you need to put conscious effort into doing.

Getting lost is inevitable, but it's so pleasant that arriving at a recognizable destination is almost a letdown—you feel a panicky urge to leave the huge plazas and seek cover somewhere narrower, with more twists and turns.

This picture was taken while a friend and I were lost on our way to San Zaccaria Church. This church happened to represent one of those instances when the destination was, in fact, as fascinating as the journey.

Centuries ago, the convent of San Zaccaria was a popular dumping grounds for the unruly daughters of Venetian noble families. Paying a dowry could be a drag, so parents brought them to the nunnery instead.

The result was hundreds of resentful, raucous, and decidedly un-religious girls cloistered in one convent. San Zaccaria eventually had the reputation of being one of the rowdiest spots in Venice, with the hardest-partying nuns.

My friend and I appreciated the history, wandered off in a different direction, and never managed to get lost in just the right way that we'd find the church again and take a proper picture of it.

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by Jessica S.
AFAR Contributor
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