Filled with colorful buildings, artisans, restaurants and boutiques, Murano, Burano and Torcello are a perfect afternoon respite when visiting Venice.
Island hopping Venetian style
Easily accessible from Venice, the islands in the lagoon offer an opportunity to observe skilled craftsman at work, stunning scenery and a few hours away from the crowds of Venice.
If going by vaperetto (water bus), lines 4.1, 4.2, 12, 13 and 7 (seasonal) include stops to Murano. Schedules and more information can be found on the Actv website.
Additionally, several tour companies offer half day excursions leaving near Piazza San Marco that include a stop on Murano, Burano and Torcello, with about 40 minutes on each island.
In 1291, Venice ordered glassmakers to move to Murano due to the risk of fires their foundries caused. The glassmakers were highly regarded for their skills and were forbidden to emigrate abroad or reveal their secrets.
As their skills continued to evolve through the centuries, the Murano artisans achieved worldwide recognition for their decorative glassware and art glass.
Today, Murano offers a wide variety of glassware from inexpensive trinkets to exquisite art glass produced by some of Murano’s historical factories.
A visit to Murano today typically includes a stop at a glass factory to watch a glass artisan create a piece of artwork – a fascinating process.
During our visit to Ferro-Lazzarini, per the time stamp from our camera, the process from the blob of hot glass in the first image to the finished horse was four minutes.
The demonstration is followed by a visit to the showroom where items can be purchased. Higher-priced pieces are available by private showing.
There are few places that will brighten your spirits, and have you reaching for your camera, more than Burano.
A small island a little further out in the Venetian lagoon, Burano is a fishing village filled with brightly-colored houses and home to the famous Burano lace.
It’s said that the fishermen painted their houses the bright colors so they could see their house through fog and find their way home.
Today, if a resident wishes to paint their house a new color, approval from the government is required and will only be granted if the color is permitted for that lot on the island.
Exploring the island is a photographer’s dream with the vivid colors reflected in the still waters of the canals.
Browsing the shops of Burano, visitors find ladies quietly embroidering as shoppers explore the intricate lace creations.
Dating back to the 5th century, Torcello is the oldest continuously populated island in the Venice lagoon.
The Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta is Torcello’s primary attraction, but the quiet island also draws a few visitors interested in hiking or simply seeking a bit of solitude, as Ernest Hemmingway did in 1948 while writing “Across the River and Into the Trees.”