The isle has a surface of 1 hectare and lies between the isles of Burano and Murano,
on the Scomenzera canal. The isle has been used for a number of purposes: at first, in
1046, it provided a safe haven for the lagoon sailors who wanted to find shelter from bad
In 1456, during the plague, the lepers were moved from the isle of San Lazzaro to
San Giacomo, where they stayed until the epidemic was over. In the early 1900s, the isle
became a military headquarter and three small barracks were erected. The army moved from
the isle in 1964, leaving it at the mercy of high tides and bad weather.