When we lived in Bassano del Grappa it was just a short trip into Venice on the train. This meant that we were lucky enough to enjoy it at a slower pace during visits, just dipping in and out, experiencing the must-see places at leisure. My favourite thing to do in Venice is to take a trip out by Vaporetto to one of the islands of Murano or Burano. The brightly coloured streets of Burano and the glass creations of Murano make for a photographic dream, so here we present Olive and Rosy's very visual guide to Murano and Burano!
The boat trip to reach the islands, although simply the local taxi service, is an experience in itself especially if you can bag a seat outdoors at the back of the boat. Take the longer route if you want to soak up the sights of the Grand Canal on the way, but there is also a direct option.
Once there you will find that each island is like a miniature version of the main city and so much easier not to get lost!
On my last visit we had a mission to gather some Murano glass.
Glass has been a Venetian trade since the 10th century and production was originally moved on Murano in the 13th Century in order to avoid the fire risk to Venice itself and also allegedly to keep the trade secrets less accessible to glassmakers from elsewhere in Europe. It was such a closely guarded secret in fact that it was considered treason for a glasmaker to leave Venice. Thankfully for the curious visitor this veil of secrecy is no longer so dense and it is possible to visit not only a museum but many workshops in order to see the artisan in action. Look out for the sign 'Fornace' (furnace).
For more information on buying glass, have a read here
A couple of glass buying tips include waiting until you get away from the docks and into the heart of Murano itself towards the Basilica of Santi Maria e Donato. Pop into the church itself to discover a glorious twelfth-century mosaic crafted from shards of Murano glass.
Apart from that just enjoy a wander around the seven interlinked islands that make up Murano and you will discover many glass sculptures and features hidden here and there.
The vibrancy of the buildings in the pretty fishing village of Burano present a great contrast to the cracked pastel hues and frescos of the Venice mainland and the Veneto in general. Recommended if you are keen for a little pop of colour!
The trade of Burano is predominantly lace. There is a lacemaking museum to visit the Museo del Merletto di Burano. As when buying glass, be careful to ensure that the lace is made in Burano as there are now many imports for sale.
What I especially love about both of the islands is the open sea, almost coastal feel that you don't always sense when embroiled in the movida of Venice itself.
You can also get close to the water's edge for a bit of relaxation more easily here, which will be most welcome if you are a seaside lover like myself. I enjoyed a coffee at Approdo whilst waiting to head towards Burano by boat.
Try to seek out these stunning little guys before you embark!
Inevitably, I always stay wandering too long, but it often makes for a chance to see the sunset as you enjoy the trip back towards the train station.
These were my favourite bead purchases from a lovely lady who made them for several years with her husband.
I am now busy transforming them into jewellery to accessorize some of our lovely Italian clothing at Olive and Rosy back in Wellington, Somerset.
From Santa Lucia train station, there is a direct line “Diretto Murano” Number 3 which will take you to Murano Colonna on Murano Island, taking only around 17 minutes. You can also take lines 4.1 or 4.2 to Murano Island from the train station or Piazzale Roma, these stop several times so take a little longer. A trip from St Mark's Square would take around 40 minutes. For Burano, look out for the Number 12 Waterbus. This takes around 45 minutes.
If you plan to visit both islands a day pass will be a better option as a single fare