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The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

  • August 7, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 31 Comments
The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

With our cruise done and dusted, we disembarked from the Westerdam and booked into a hotel in Venice for a couple of nights. Once we dropped our luggage off we set off to St Marks Square where we jumped aboard another boat, a tad smaller, to cruise around the islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello. What a day we had in store for us!

The islands of Venice aren’t far from the historic centre of Venice and comprise of a series of islands scattered in the lagoon like pebbles, each with its own personality and charms. Collectively, they offer a glimpse into a Venice most visitors rarely take the time to find. We set off to explore three of these little gems on what was a hazy day with very poor visibility across the lagoon.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Leaving Venice on our 3 Island Boat Cruise

Murano

I’m sure everyone has heard of Murano Glass and has at some stage purchased a piece of jewellery or glassware with the Murano insignia on it. My good friend brought me back a pair of Murano earrings as a gift years ago when she was holidaying in Italy. So I was looking forward to actually visiting the island called Murano, renowned for it’s beautiful glassware, for this fact alone.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

The Venetian Island of Murano

Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, and was a commercial port as far back as the 7th Century. In 1291, the Venetian Republic ordered glassmakers to move their foundries to Murano because the glassworks represented a fire danger in Venice, whose buildings were mostly wooden at the time. So Murano became known as the Glass Island.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

A Factory Facade in Murano

We got off the boat and made our way into one of the Murano Glass Factories to watch the artisans at work at the ancient art of glassblowing. Once we watched the glassblowing demonstration we were led into the showroom, of course! Here we were able to look but not touch, beautiful pieces of glassware, including glass vases, plates, figurines and jewellery. A word of warning, these pieces of glassware do come at a hefty price tag if you are tempted to buy.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Glassblowing demonstration in a Murano Glass Factory

Although time only permitted our Glass Factory tour before we were dragged out of the shop and whisked back onto the boat, there are many more beautiful galleries displaying pieces of glass art on the island. Also, don’t miss the island’s glass museums and leading churches.

Burano

You may have seen photos of Venice that show brightly-painted buildings and flowerpots? Well we discovered that these aren’t from the main island of Venice, but from the island of Burano. Apparently families used to paint their homes in bright colours to designate where their family’s quarters ended and a neighbour’s began, as well as to make their homes more visible from the sea.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

The brightly coloured houses of Burano

On our second stop on our tour we explored the multi-coloured masterpiece of Burano. It’s like a real-life canvas of brightly coloured buildings with small canals and pretty arch bridges running through the island. The town is full of interesting shops with lots of them selling trademark lace the island is famous for. The art of lacemaking has been handed down generation after generation to the womenfolk of Burano.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Shops in Burano

Although there is a are touristy section of Burano, the rest of it still has the working-island feel that you wouldn’t find in Venice. Fishing boats come in at the end of the day with their catch; local women peer over their flower boxes at the tourists wandering below. It was all so uniquely charming and beguiling.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Burano Main Square

We wandered down Via Galuppi, the island’s main street, that is lined with pastry and souvenir shops, stores, bars, and restaurants.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

The streets in Burano

Burano even has a leaning tower, a former bell tower of the 15th century San Martino Church that is a great spot for pictures. Sadly we had leave this colourful island, so it was back on the boat to continue our three island tour.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Burano Church and Bell Tower

Torcello

You might say that we saved the best for last. Torcello, the most northerly island of the Venetian Lagoon, was the largest and most important settlement of all the islands nearly 1,500 years ago. Once we got off the boat we strolled beside a canal down a long lane for around 10 minutes, crossed an old stone arched bridge until we reached the main square of Torcello.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

One of the Bridges over the canal in Torcello

We were immediately drawn to a marble throne at the centre of the square, the so-called “Attila’s Throne”, erroneously attributed to the famous leader of the Huns. A magnificent Byzantine-Italian cathedral dating back to 639 A.D., the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, looms over the square with the Bell Tower and Church of Santa Fosca alongside.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Santa Fosca Church

The cathedral is a remarkable piece of architecture featuring some amazing mosaics, that you can observe inside or you can scale up the Bell Tower for a small charge.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta

There is also a small Archaeological Museum that is located in the Palazzo del Consiglio, built in 400 in Gothic style as the seat of government of the island. On the far side there are rows of grapevines as far as the eye can see and some marble statues adorning the vineyard.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Rows of Grapevines and Ancient Statues

We had arrived at lunch time so we were all ravenous and headed towards one of the indoor-outdoor restaurants back along the path to the boat dock. There are a few to select from on the island, from a large restaurant set in a villa with glorious gardens called Cipriani to smaller pizzerias lining the canal.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

A quaint little cafe in Torcello

This green and grassy, semi-deserted island is pretty much a delightful Sunday stroll, but I found it to be the most charming out of the three islands that we visited. On our cruise back to Venice we noticed that the haze was finally lifting allowing us to capture a few clearer shots of this incredible Italian city.

The Islands of Venice of Murano, Burano & Torcello

Villa & Restaurant on Torcello Island

Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tours are available from St Mark’s Square and cost around 20 euros per person. I would highly recommend putting this tour on your Venice sightseeing itinerary.

 

 

 

By 50 Shades, August 7, 2017 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 31

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

31 Comments
  • Lyndall @ SeizeThe Day Project
    August 7, 2017

    You know how much I loved visiting Venice Kathy. We spent several hours on Burano, which was magical, but didn’t make it to Torcello. It’s defnitely on the list for our next visit :)

    • Kathy
      August 8, 2017

      Burano was gorgeous and our husbands had to drag us back onto the boat because we didn’t want to leave! However Torcello was absolutely stunning, but didn’t have the shopping that Burano had. It was a nice refuge from the madness of Venice. :)

  • Melissa @ All Around Oz
    August 9, 2017

    I’m so enjoying my armchair trip around Europe with you Kathy. Wonderful photos!

    • Kathy
      August 10, 2017

      Thanks Mel. It was a fabulous trip and it will remain with me for the rest of my years. Now to save up for the next adventure! :)

  • Agness of aTukTuk
    August 9, 2017

    Burano seems truly picturesque, Kathy! What time of the year is best for exploring it?

    • Kathy
      August 10, 2017

      We were in Venice in early May this year. So I think this was the perfect time to visit before summer arrives and the hordes of tourists. :)

  • Dawne
    August 14, 2017

    So beautiful!! I cant wait to see some of these things in April!

  • Abigail Sinsona
    August 14, 2017

    This is such a handy guide for exploring Venice. When I think about Venice, I often think about the Grand Canal. But it seems that there are more to see and explore! Those Burano cafes by the canal seem like the perfect spot to spend idle days in Venice in!

  • Flo
    August 14, 2017

    I am absolutely kicking myself for not visiting Torcello and Murano! We only made it to Burano last time (which I absolutely loved) but ran out of time. It looksl ike visiting a glass factory on Murano would have been an amazing experience – oh well, just means I’ll have to go back!

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2017

      Burano was so pretty with its coloured buildings. The Murano glassblowing was incredible and the island of Torcello was brilliant. There’s much more to Venice than meets the eye.

  • Marvi of Osmiva
    August 14, 2017

    Such a charming city to visit! Not the usual spot we associate with Venice, but a great gem nevertheless! :)

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2017

      Yes these Venetian islands were spectacular and I would highly recommend putting them on your itinerary when visiting Venice.

  • Aisha
    August 15, 2017

    I had actually never heard of Murano glass, or Murano to be honest but having seen everything this quaint town, along with Burano and Torcello, have to offer, I really hope I have the chance to visit in the future!

    • Kathy
      August 15, 2017

      It is absolutely beautiful glass that is all handmade by glassblowers. It was an amazing experience watching them make pieces or art. These Venetian Islands are definitely worth putting on your Venice intinerary.

  • Rachelle
    August 15, 2017

    Ooh, I love that you were able to see a glass-blowing demonstration. How cool was that?! I love those colorful buildings, and it’s interesting to know that they actually come from Burano, not Venice proper. I had no idea!

    • Kathy
      August 15, 2017

      Yes the glassblowing demo was a highlight. It’s fascinating how the craftsmen form melted glass into pieces of art. Burano was absolutely stunning with its colourful buildings. It’s certainly a day trip worth taking from Venice.

  • Lydia Smith
    August 15, 2017

    Ive visited Murano the glass city and flashy Burano but not Torcello. I’m feeling sad now because it seems like I had an incomplete experience. But I’d surely go back to visit the three sisters: Murano, Burano and Torcello

    • Kathy
      August 15, 2017

      Oh yes Torcello was beautiful and the fact that it was virtually uninhabited made it even more attractive. I really enjoyed our three Venetian Island experience.

  • Ivan
    August 15, 2017

    Those ancient houses and buildings are so charming. It’s like walking through time when everything seems laid-back and uncomplicated. This is such a unique island-hopping experience.

    • Kathy
      August 16, 2017

      The three islands were all very charming. It is an experience that everyone should do when visiting Venice.

  • Megan
    August 16, 2017

    I just love Venice, and especially Burano. Hubby and I took a week in Venice, and stayed on the west side of the Grand Canal which was a little quieter. It was a beautiful time, and we really enjoyed exploring the back alleys and little restaurants. But then I took my camera to Burano for the day, and it was just amazing. Incredibly beautiful and so colorful! Thanks for bringing up wonderful memories.

    • Kathy
      August 16, 2017

      We also stayed on the west side of the Grand Canal and it was a little less crowded here. The laneways and canals seem to go on forever and you could easily spend all day exploring them. Unfortunately the day we visited the three islands it was dull and hazy so our photos aren’t as colourful as they could have been.

  • Vanessa Ball
    August 16, 2017

    The houses of Burrano look so cute and colourful and to right on the water must be fabulous. Would love to visit here. I must admit I’d never heard of it so thanks for enlightening me!

    • Kathy
      August 17, 2017

      You’re very welcome Vanessa. I actually hadn’t heard of these island either prior to planning our itinerary for Venice and Italy. They were a pleasant surprise.

  • Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama
    August 16, 2017

    I was really sorry we didn’t get to Murano at least while we were in Venice :-( … oh well next time!

    • Kathy
      August 17, 2017

      The Murano glass was gorgeous and I enjoyed our glassblowing demonstration and browsing in the shop afterwards. I would highly recommend seeing these three islands if you get to Venice again. :)

  • Ruth | Tanama Tales
    August 19, 2017

    Never been to these islands, so, it is one more reason to go back to Venice. I need to experience those colorful houses and alleys.

    • Kathy
      August 19, 2017

      I had never actually heard about these islands, except for Murano glass which is located on the island of Murano. They were a real treat!

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    August 19, 2017

    These islands are real gems that tend to get overshadowed by the main island of Venice. Each of these have a unique character of their own. I love Burrano with its brightly coloured houses. Looks like it has emerged from the canvas of a freshly painted artwork.

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