A Day trip to Burano & Murano
Venice is know for being the city in the middle of the lagoon, but did you know it has a long history of supporting wonderful art forms from lace making, mask making and glass blowing. You can buy some of the most richly coloured and designed glass work in some of the best shops in Venice and detailed lace for your costumes.
These Islands now are homes to some of the greatest artist in Venice with Murano being known around the world for its Glass Blowing and Burano known for its coloured homes, lace work and pastries. They are 100% worth a day trip while in Venice.
The Islands are easy to get to from Venice by using the water bus services, you can get the number 12 Vaporetto from F.te Nove A that is located in the North part of the Island of Venice. The Vaporetto leaves every 20 minutes taking around 50 minutes to Burano via Murano, so I suggest you begin your adventures for the day in Burano. The best Vaporetto to catch from Venice is the 8.40am ferry, as you will get there just in time for first morning tea and to bet the crowds.
Burano is a unique and vibrant island, that is its own world and is a heaven for me . It has been inhabited by all sorts since the Roman times, but it found its fame in the 16th Century when the women of the island began to create delicate lace work. The lace was exported all over Europe until a decline in the 18th Century but the skill was revived in the late 19th century with a school of lacework being created. Today the skill is almost gone from the Island but there are still a few that keep the tradition going. You can visit the Lace Museum to learn about the culture in Burano for Lace Making as well as seeing some incredible pieces.
Afterwards why not head across from the Museum to a lace shop that has some of the most beautiful lace pieces I have ever seen ( I even own a piece from there of two women making lace by a fireplace). The lace shop Merletti dalla Olga is covered head to toe on 2 floors from everything to a small book markers, to table cloths then to baptism gowns. We were lucky enough to even meet the woman who creates all the lace pieces in the shop, as she showed us some of the fine detailed pieces and the amount of skill that goes in each piece.
Burano is the perfect place to stroll around taking in the little bridges and not to mention the famous houses that are in the vibrant colours of blue, orange, red, pink, yellow the rainbow is endless. It is an intoxicating place as you stroll around experiencing moments like blue trousers hanging on a washing line against a pink wall. It is incredible and a photo haven.
The houses are so iconic that if you wish to paint a house you need permission from the government and they will give a range of colours for that certain house. It is said the houses where painted these bright colours to allow the fishermen to know which was their house and not to be confused with their neighbours, as well as being able to see the homes from the waters. This is how I see the world everyday and Burano was like walking into my mind in such an array of colour.
When we were here in February during Carnivale there were so many people there in full Masked Costumes taking photos, it was incredible to see them merge with the backdrop.
Burano still has a sense of home, with multiple generations living together keeping the traditional of the island alive. So make sure you enjoy the local life by watching the fishermen with their daily catch, eating the Burano Risotto dish ‘Risotto de Go’ ( I heard that Trattoria da Romano is the best place to eat) seeing how much San Martino’s tower is on a angle, walking across Tre Ponti which is 3 bridges that all join together, enjoy walking up and down the main street eating local pasties at Panificio Pasticceria Palmisano Carmelina, ask what the local tastes are. Why not stop at Sall Di Luca Rossi & C. Snc to buy local drinks, pasta, gelato and the biscuit treats.. Yummo!
Now head on back to the number 12 Vaporetto that departs every 20 minutes, the ferry takes 35 minutes from Burano to Murano Faro, with allows you to get into the heart of Murano for your second stop of the day.
Murano too was settled by the Romans; it has been a fishing port, production place of salt and even minted its own coins. The Monastery of San Michele was created there, becoming a centre for learning and printing. Fra Mauro a famous cartographer whose maps helped Europeans explore the world was once a monk here. It became the major cemetery to Venice under the rule of Napoleon. Murano was a place for the main farming at one point too, as well as a holiday resort for Venetians with many palaces built that have gone. Murano has seen so much.
What makes Murano the famous place that it is today is by through the long tradition of blowing glass. The glass blowers moved to this island of Murano in 1291 due to risk of burning down Venice from the hot fires they needed. Murano was the main export of glass work across Europe from the glass beads, mirrors and Aventurine Glass (Goldstone) was invented on the island.
I have so many wonderful pieces of Murano Glass from 20 years ago and to now which are some of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen. There is still a huge trade for Glass Blowers keeping old traditions alive. It is a perfect excuse to go witness a Glass Blowing session as it is quite special to see. Why not try going to Murano Glass Factory, Colleoni Veteria Artistica, Fratelli Tessaro S.n.c but make sure it isn't during lunch as they will go eat and have a siesta. We had a nice traditional Seafood lunch at Ristorante dalla Mora while waiting for them to wake up.
Some of the Glass shops ship to places all over the world so you are guarantee to be able purchase some incredible pieces, so why not have a window shop at Murano Glass Company or at Boscolo Andrea (by far my favourite shop) just across for the Ponte Longon. The city of Venice has some great shops that sell Murano Glass so have a look at my blog about Living a Life in Venice to know the best places to shop and not buy cheaply made products that are imported from other parts of the world. As a artist myself, please always support your local artistry.
Murano has a Glass Museum that holds one of the some of the best glass pieces you will see in the world from Antiquity to Modern, so if you have the desire to know more about the history head to the Glass Museum. I also found this article really interesting as I got to learn so much of the long history of Glass Making in Venice.
Going to Burano and Murano is a wonderful thing to do, as you allow yourself to see another layer of life in Venice. You get to go back in time to other worlds that you will not discover anywhere else on the planet. From the bright colours of Burano to the old streets of Murano and the lace makers of Burano to the Glass Blowers of Murano. What a wonderful world to discover full of art and history, you'll not get enough of it.