Tuesday 22 April 2014

Glass and Lace, the Islands of Murano and Burano

Our day trip to the islands of Murano and Burano was a welcome respite from the tourist-filled sestiere of San Marco. Although the two islands get their own share of visitors, it wasn't as bustling (well, not during the time we were there anyway) as busy San Marco.

The picture-perfect colorful houses of Burano.

We had a bit of a late start on the day of our island-hopping as jet lag finally caught up with us (reminded us of another jet lag incident from another trip). It was way past 10 in the morning when we finally got to the vaporetto (water bus) stop. By that time there was already a long queue of Murano-bound passengers. Good thing we already had the 12-hour ACTV Transport card that we bought online before we left for our trip. 

Getting there: (Or how we got there)
  • San Marco to Murano - At vaporetto stop D at the San Marco-San Zaccaria (Jolanda) jetty we boarded vaporetto no. 4.1 and got off at the Murano (Faro) stop. Travel time was approximately 45 minutes with all the stops in between.
  • Murano (Faro) to Burano - At the same stop in Murano we got on vaporetto no. 12 direction towards Burano. Travel time was around 30 minutes.
  • Burano back to Venezia - At the same Burano stop we took the same vaporetto 12 towards the direction of Fondamente Nove. Travel time was around 30 minutes.

From Fondamente Nove the Big K and I were supposed to hop on another vaporetto to take us to San Marco but seeing a lot of people waiting for the same ride and not wanting to be metro-squashed Venetian style, we decided to just walk back to San Marco. It was only a leisurely 30-minute walk anyway, right? Well, more like an hour or more because once again we wonderfully got lost in the back alleys of beautiful Venice. 


Glass factories were once located in Venice but in the late 1200s they were moved to the island of Murano for fear of fire breaking out in the city's mostly wooden buildings of the time. The move resulted to Murano's reputation as the center of glass-making.   

The Big K and I were hoping to watch a glassblowing demonstration when we got to Murano. Unfortunately because of our late start we arrived well past noon and every one of the factories/show rooms we peeked into were either on lunch break or had just finished their demonstration. Oh well! More reason for us to come back in the future.   

The Murano Faro (lighthouse) 

Murano's Grand Canal

Next stop, Burano!

What glass work is to Murano, lace work is to Burano. According to an old legend, while navigating the lagoon a fisherman betrothed to a Burano girl resisted the temptation of mermaids singing. The Mermaid Queen was so impressed by the man's resistance she decided to reward him for his faithfulness to his 
fiancée. She hit the boat with her tail and the water movement formed a foam which she created into a beautiful and delicate nuptial veil for the bride. 

On the wedding day of the fisherman and his fiancée, the bride's veil was so envied by all especially the young girls who tried to recreate the veil by using a needle and thread. Lace making was born!

The tiny island is also known for their colorful houses. Walking along the canals of Burano is like entering a giant coloring book with multicolored houses standing next to each other painted in vibrant colors.

Burano's own leaning bell tower of San Martino.

Right about now the Big K and I felt our tummies grumbling. Time for lunch, a rather late one at that. At the island's main street an image of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ on the balcony of one restaurant caught our attention, we thought this seemed like a good place to eat. Of course, the sign for free WiFi didn't have anything to do with our decision to eat at the restaurant. 

We seated ourselves at one of the outdoor tables and looked forward to another opportunity to stuff our faces. Now what to eat? Seafood, of course! For starters we had tender octopus salad followed by huge servings of seafood pasta and squid ink risotto. Oh! And our drinks had to be the Spritz Veneziano, a cocktail made from prosecco wine and a dash of liqueur.  


Time to head back home.

Belmond Hotel Cipriani's 24/7 complimentary boat service. No standing room here!

We stayed at the Hotel Cipriani as part of our Orient Express journey.

And, my souvenir from our fun day trip? A lovely Murano scarf pin and a gorgeous delicate Burano lace shawl. I am a happy camper!

More pictures of our fun-filled day trip to Murano and Burano in our Facebook page.

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