Three days in Venice - last views of the City of Canals - day 3

Today we’re headed out of central Venice to visit the northern lagoon islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Plan to get up early and make a day of it.

Buy an all-day ticket for the vaporetto, and depart from Fondamenta Nuove, Piazzale Roma or San Zaccaria near St. Mark’s Square, with Murano being our first stop.

09:00 - 11:30 – the glassblowing island of Murano

Murano by potomoMurano, famous for being the epicentre of Venice’s glassmaking industry, has been home to over 200 glass furnaces since 1291.

Step off the vaporetto at the Colonna stop and head for one of the glass factories to see a live glassblowing demonstration. Seeing the maestros work their magic to create vases, glassware and even animals is a treat for young and old. Learning the art of glassblowing can take many years of apprenticeship before qualifying to be a maestro. After the demonstration, take time to browse in the many showrooms and shops that line the main streets of Murano.

Making a Glass Horse by ahisgettWhile on Murano, wander over its own little version of the Grand Canal and stop in at one of the churches or the Museo Vetrario (Glass Museum) at Fondamenta Giustinan.

Glass buying tip: don’t get caught up in the sales pitch from the big glass blowers showrooms straight away. Take some time to shop around before deciding on making a large purchase.

If you decide to have lunch on Murano, there are several osterias and trattorias lining the main canal. A local favorite is Trattoria Busa alla Torre, located in Campo Santo Stefano at the base of the clock tower, open only for lunch daily.

12:30 - 15:30 – the colourful island of Burano

The vaporetto ride from Murano to Burano on Line # 12 takes about 35 minutes, with the boat departing twice per hour, leaving only from the Faro stop (the lighthouse).

Burano, with its rainbow hued small houses, is a startling contrast to Murano and Venice itself. The island has always been home to local fishermen, who painted their homes in vibrant shades of reds, blues and greens so they could spot them on their way in from a day out fishing. While the men of Burano were out fishing, the women were home making lace, renowned as some of the best lace in Europe.

Burano by p.andreaToday lace shops abound in Burano’s main square. You’ll find everything from high-end handmade lace to factory-made tourist souvenirs. The Scuola di Merletti (Lace School) has been recently restored and re-opened to the public, located on the main square, Piazza Galuppi. If you look carefully, you may find some local ladies busy stitching either in a shop or the doorway of their home.

Spend a lazy afternoon exploring the little streets and canals of Burano. With its brilliant colors, it’s an artist and photographer’s paradise. Be sure to scout out the most colourful house on Burano, Casa Bepi.

If you decide to have a late lunch, you’ll find some of the area’s finest food at Trattoria Da Romano, widely known for its fish risotto. Also not to be missed are some of the famous ‘S’ cookies, or Buranelli, at Carmelina Palmisano’s Pasticceria on Piazza Galuppi.

16:00 - 17:30 – the island of Torcello

If you still have a bit of energy, a visit to the island of Torcello just five minutes by boat from Burano is the perfect way to cap off your day on the Venetian islands. Vaporetto line # 9 runs twice per hour between the two islands.

Torcello - Ponte del Diavolo by J.BeddoeUpon disembarking the vaporetto, walk along the canal until you reach the centre of Torcello where the Basilica is located. Along the way you will find a few tiny osterias and the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge).

Torcello, dating back to the fifth century, once had a thriving population of 20,000. However, by the 1300s with the development of the Rialto area and an outbreak of mosquito infestation, Torcello residents fled to Venice, leaving the island virtually empty. Today about 10 families reside on the island, which is still home to Santa Fosca, a beautiful 11th-century church, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, first built in 638 and containing mosaics from the 9th-12th century.

The last boat back to Burano leaves the island around 20:00.