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Boat Trip to Murano, Burano and Torcello
When in Venice, why not check out the nearby islands too - I thought to myself and I set off on guided boat journey to Murano, Burano and Torcello!
Near the Saint Mark's Basilica there's a long port along the Canal Grande. From there, boats, gondolas and water-buses (operated by ACTV) constantly transport the passengers. It's the most water traffic-intense area of Venice.
For a little over 20 EUR I bought an organized (guided) boat trip from Venice to Murano, Burano and Torcello islands. It was a fantastic trip that I will always remember.
In fact, the only thing that bothered me about it was that we stayed only a few minutes on these beautiful islands. I can recall staying quite a lot on the further-located (less interesting) Torcello Island, but we rushed away from Burano and Murano. You have to rush back to your boat or they'll leave without you!
An older lady was our tour guide. She impressed me with the fact that she was fluent in so many languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, German.
Now, check out my experiences on these three islands, below...
Small island town that's home to about 5.000 people. About 1.5 km wide (0.93 mi) and at the same distance away from Venice as its maximum width!
Murano is famous for its locally manufactured glass products.
Murano's Canale di San Donato
Glassware has an old tradition in Murano. Products manufactured there are World-renowned and to be honest, quite expensive!
In the past, the masters lived and manufactured glassware in their Venetian workshops. But due to occasional fires that easily spread and destroyed Venice's wooden buildings, the glassmakers were forced to move away to the island of Murano.
The foundries of Murano had been established as early as 1291, when the owners moved out from Venice.
In Murano, you'll see similar channels to the Venetian ones, although boat traffic and some boats on them. There are less tourists and streets seemed deserted (!).
To me, parts of Murano looked like ghost town. It's hard to imagine how someone could live here in the 21st century - if not from glassware production, tourism and/or transportation, then opportunities are extremely low. Costs of living in Murano must be very high.
I suppose Murano lives from the combination of tourism, transportation and glassware manufacturing. Not a bad model for a small local economy. The island town is quite prosperous.
While on the island, we visited a glass manufacturer's workshop. They showed us how they make their glass products.
Murano glass makers' workshop
Then we admired their products gallery. Price tags were huge. A keychain-size mini glass product cost in above 20 EUR, but even those were rare, as most had price above 30 EUR.
Of course, Murano glass is unlike any other... The quality was superior to anything I've seen until then! Top of the line, you may say - luxury products, even.
If you have the possibility, then don't hesitate buying. It might be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Walk with caution in the galleries, between lots of glassware. These are extremely expensive, don't break anything!
Murano glass shop
Your trip could cost a lot less than some of the collections exposed!
As for walking around: I took a short stroll along the Canalale di San Donato (1 of 11 naviagble canals in Murano) and took a few photo shots from a bridge. Not much looking around (unfortunately) was possible, as I had to rush back to the boat, which (to my surprise!) was already embarking - a few minutes too early!
The colourful Burano Deserves More Attention!
I liked Burano more than Murano! It's more colourful, it's a photographer's paradise!
Although almost everyone from the tour group headed for the guided visit to a necklace manufacturer's workshop and shop, I was more excited about the town's streets... So I headed out to explore individually (and at the end I nearly missed my boat back!).
Burano's leaning church tower from the sea
Burano's houses are extremely colourful, so the primary reason to get there is to see the architecture.
It's very different from Venice. Buildings here look more simple and are newer. Obviously, people here had a lot lower incomes.
One of only 3 channels in Burano
It's great to admire the vividly-coloured houses. You'll see purple, strong red, light blue and light yellow side-by-side.
The main attractions in Burano are the beautiful houses and a leaning-towered church (this is just one of the many leaning towers that saw seen in Italy). It seems like Italy is the country of leaning-towers.
Piazza Baldassare Galuppi - the main square of the town
Venice too has plenty of them! And until this trip I haven't been to Pisa to see the World's most famous tilted tower... Ah well, I've promised myself that I'll launch at least an article (or even a full section) dedicated to tilted towers!
Burano is 0,67 kms in width (about 0.42 mi) and with a population of roughly 2.800 people it primarily lives out of tourism.
My favorite sight during my Burano visit!
Our tour guide lady told us that the town of Burano is famous for its necklaces. Well, I wasn't that much interested in this form of art and headed to explore the architecture instead.
I could only manage to take a few photos of houses, checked the church out and after being aroused by the first taste of the small town, I had to rush back on to my ship.
The blue building was actually a public toilet! Yay, lucky me!
Don't miss out on this experience if you're visiting Venice. Burano is one of the best attractions to see there. If I had to choose between Murano and Burano, I'd pick Burano!
It's a green island full of ancient buildings, many in ruins.
Sparsely populated, but has been the most populated island of the ancient Republic of Venice.
Torcello is famous for the fact that Ernest Hemingway had spent some time here in 1948, while writing his work "Across the River and Into the Trees".
It's interesting that no matter where I travel I tend to come across places where legendary people lived or "spent time". One of these people is Ernest Hemingway... I might actually have something in common with the guy. Except smoking and hunting (which Hemingway loved). I love animals and I don't smoke!
Several old buildings in the middle of Torcello
After having disembarked, we took a long walk along a channel from our boat.
Only after that did we reach Ponte del Diavolo (about 400 m later), then further we encountered more buildings.
The atmosphere on Torcello was interesting.
The Ponte del Diavolo
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Church of Santa Fosca as well as the Ponte del Diavolo are the main attractions of this island.
Otherwise, it's not at all impressive. Take my advice: focus on Venice, then check out Murano and Burano (if possible all three). Torcello is a bit "off" with nothing particularly attractive. But of course, we stayed a lot on this island!
It's a lot different from what I've seen until then, but you might think it's not very impressive (when compared with the rest of the attractions in the area of Venice).
Cracking jet noise distracted my attention - a Eurofighter Typoon fighter jet flew above our heads at a much lower than usual altitude (I estimate slightly less than 100 m above us!). Quite an unusual "attraction" at such a place!
Unfortunately most of the buildings on Torcello have been torn down and their remains were re-used as construction materials in Venice.
The Santa Fosca Church was built during the 11th and 12th centuries
There were several palaces, 12 parishes and 16 cloisters on Torcello, but they were almost totally wiped off the surface, after the population had moved to the nearby islands. The building materials were embedded in the buildings we can still see today in Venice, Murano and Burano.
The most outstanding building still intact today is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which you will quickly notice, once you pass the Ponte del Diavolo. This old church was built in 639 A.D.! It's roughly 1.400 years old!
The other church, the Santa Fosca was erected in the 12th century (works began in the 11th century).
We embarked the boat, took a trip to the nearby dams (construction site) - where protective sea walls were being erected in order to protect the Venetian lagoon from future flooding.
The Santa Maria Assunta Church to the right (founded in 639 AD)
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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