re: Island hopping in Venice – Murano & Burano

Murano building reflections

Visiting another country is often a battle of time. It’s either a race to see, eat, do everything on your list or sometimes a struggle to find something interesting to fill up your days. From accepting there’s no time to visit a particular place, to drifting between cafés, travelling is as much about planning as well as spontaneity. Towards the end of our four days in Venice, we were on the edge of ennui. So, to keep the novelty of Venice alive, we took a day trip on our penultimate day to visit its neighbours – Murano and Burano.

From the north of Venice island, it took only a short vaporetto ride to get to the first island of Murano. Famous for glassmaking, there’s a variety of souvenirs to choose from (jewellery to kitchenware) and a diverse range of shops to browse through. You should also be aware that some places (perhaps more so in the city of Venice) sell ‘Murano’ glass products that are actually imported from China. This may be something to keep in mind if you spot a suspiciously good deal!

Murano’s reputation as the centre of glassmaking began when the glassblowers (Glass-smith? Gaffer?) in Venice were forced to move to the island to reduce the risk of fires in the city. For those wanting to watch a live demonstration of this craft, it is probably best to do some research beforehand. We saw many places charging a fee of ~5 euros, but after some exploring, found we had missed the free demonstration of the day. We did however, stumble across a jewellery shop wherein the owner of the store was busy crafting small glass beads – an interesting process to observe!

From Murano, it’s easy to catch another vaporetto to Burano. In hindsight, it might be more efficient to start with the farthest island and work back to Venice. Certainly, it will be less busy on the way back – we eventually made it onto the third waterbus to Burano. Switching the rainbow of glass for houses, Burano was one of the highlights of my trip! Every corner and alley were beautiful and worthy of a quick snap! We stopped to rest our feet at a small café – since it’s a small, primarily residential area, there wasn’t many places to sit without having to pay for a drink. Perhaps bring your own chair when visiting?! Houses are repainted every two years and there’s a system in place that prevents neighbouring houses from being the same colour. Aside from its vibrant houses, Burano also boasts its own craft – needle lace. Demonstrations are also available, but by wandering into a small shop, I stumbled across an old lady working on a piece.

A visit to Venice really isn’t complete without a visit to Murano and Burano to complement your experience. Although equally busy with visitors, each island has its own personality to draw you in and is the perfect retreat when you start to tire of Venice.

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