As if there isn’t enough to see in Venice, the hubs and I peeled ourselves away for a day to explore the islands of Murano and Burano.
Famous for it’s glass making, Murano is less than a mile from Venice. But like anywhere in the City of Water, arrival by boat is the only way. Nailing down the best route to get there wasn’t the easiest. Hotels try to sell you on a free water taxi + tour, but we’d heard about the extreme pressure to purchase glass at the end, so we were committed to figuring out our own way. Our concierge told us that we had to go to Rialto to buy a vaporetto pass, which I didn’t believe, so we bought one online. Their recommended route did prove to be legit- take the #1 line which runs through the grand canal to Ca’ d’Oro. Unfortunately, our passes, that we so smartly purchased online, weren’t yet validated. The very nice vaporetto operator instructed us to get off at the Rialto where the ticket counter agent could validate them. So…maybe our concierge wasn’t just giving us a line afterall… Regardless, we quickly hopped off to make the ticket official and hopped back on. Once we got off at Ca’ d’Oro, it was a quick 10 minute walk to Fondamente Nuove, where you pick up the #12 for a 10-15 minute ride to Murano.
While this all sounds a bit complicated, the scenery was beautiful along the way, and the vaporettos leave frequently enough that you don’t need plan to hop on at any particular time. I’m not one to waste time while traveling, but this actually turned out to be a fun excursion.
Once we arrived on Murano, we were first greeted by a beautiful glass butterfly and flower garden, followed by a mammoth abstract piece. If that doesn’t get you in the buying mood…! Wandering in and out of the glass shops was fascinating; the exquisite pieces had me wishing we lived in a new Italian villa waiting to be be adorned with Venetian decor! Alas, I settled for a pair of gold stud earrings.
Aimless meandering led us to small glass blowing factory that was definitely off the beaten path and mostly empty. I’ve searched endlessly on google maps to find it with no luck. I remember it being at the end of the strip of cafes and shops, and I would definitely recommend it (picture of the entrance below, get out your treasure map).
Finding a spot for lunch wasn’t easy, there seem to be about five cafes on the island. The hubs somehow spotted this fabulous wine bar where we had such an enjoyable time. Again, no trace of it exists on google maps, but I’d bet if you showed someone a photo they’d point you in the right direction. English isn’t really spoken anywhere that you’d actually want to eat, but if you’re patient, kind, and just kind of point, you’ll get by just fine. The sweet server here even directed us to a table on the patio while we were waiting for our order outside. Pointing worked out well and whatever we ordered was delicious. After a few spritzes, we skipped off to Burano. Getting between the two islands is simple- you hop back on the #12 towards Burano and arrive about 30 minutes later to a rainbow of houses. While your favorite colour might be blue, choosing from yellow or orange could be the extent of your artistic option. The colours of the houses follow a specific system originating from the golden age of its development; if someone wishes to paint their home, one must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colours permitted for that lot. Their coordination efforts sure make for a great photo op. Also interesting was the very crooked steeple. At first, we considered that fact that we’d had a few spritzes, but photo evidence shows its slant. The ride back (on you guessed it, the #12) was sort of surreal. Visiting the two islands was like being in another world. While there were many visitors on the island, it was evident that the residents enjoy a very simple lifestyle free from the constant technology overload that we’re used to. It’s unnerving at times, like when you literally can’t find anywhere to have lunch, but a little patience and sense of adventure goes a long way.
On the ride home, the hubs and I were squished in the front of the boat against the railing. With little personal space and a spectacular view of the late afternoon sun beginning to set, I felt a little lighter. Perhaps it was the fact that I stowed our (heavy) new vase on top of the docking rope rather than in my purse, but it was more likely because of the slow, enjoyable and unforgettable afternoon we’d had.