Venice: Murano, Burano and Torcello
The island of Murano became famous in 1291, the year in which the glass production was transferred here from the old city center due to fear of fires in the kilns. To get to the “glass island” you must go to Fondamenta Nuove where you can take a vaporetto # 41 or 42 that reaches the Murano in about 10 minutes.
You will catch a glimpse of the San Michele island while traveling between le Fondamenta Nuove and Murano. This is Venice cemetery where famous people such as Stravinsky and Diaghilev are buried.
Once you get to Murano, get off at the Colonna stop and walk along the Fondamenta dei Vetrai, where you can see the famous glassworks all lined up. Some of these are open to the public: choose one to watch the expert master glass blowers creating an object in glass. You can also buy blown glass things at the kilns directly. One of the oldest glassworks is Venini, a company that exhibits its own work in many museums of modern art around the world.
Just before the Vivarini Bridge you will see the Church of San Pietro Martire on your left, where there are some frescoes by Bellini, Tintoretto and del Veronese. Cross over the bridge and walk along the Fondamenta Cavour, where the Glass Museum is located, housing 4000 pieces that shown the development of glass blowing techniques over the centuries. One of the items on shown is the wonderful Barovier cup, made from enamel-painted blown glass and decorated with allegorical figures.
Just a short walk from the museum there is also the Church of Santi Maria e Donato, which dates back to the 8th century. Here you can admire the Vergine Orante, a splendid mosaic that depicts the Virgin Mary. The Basilica also has a curious fact: the apse in Venetian Byzantine style is facing the Canal.
Burano can be reached from the Fondamenta Nuove or from the Murano Faro stop, taking the LN line.
Burano is one of the prettiest islands in the lagoon: it is a miniature Venice where all the houses are painted in bright colors. Burano is famous for its lace work, an art carried out since the sixteenth century and which is famous worldwide.
As soon as you get off the vaporetto, walk along Via Marcello and then turn right to the Fondamenta di San Mauro: You will soon come to Via Baldassare Galuppi that opens onto the square with the same name. Here you will find the Lace Museum, where you can see old pieces of lace and can watch the various stages of work carried out by the experts. In the square there is also the Church of San Marino, which houses the “Crocefissione” painting by Tiepolo and also Palazzo del Podestà. We also advise you to pop into a cake shop on the island to taste the famous bussolai buranelli.
It is possible to reach the island of Torcello from the Fondamenta Nuove, taking the LN line vaporetto , or by taking the line T motorboat from Burano.
Torcello is an extremely romantic and charming place. Venetians love to go there once in a while as they are attracted by its calm and the greenness of the island. Unlike Murano and Burano, Torcello is practically uninhabited and still has a lot of archeological proof of its glorious past.
From the wharf, walk along the pleasant Fondamenta dei Borgognoni where you will immediately see the famous Ponte del Diavolo (the Devil’s Bridge). Further on there is Piazza Torcello, with its original grass flooring where you can see the wonderful, ancient Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. A whole part of the interior of the church is a wonderful mosaic showing the Universal Judgement. There is also a pretty church, the Church of Santa Fosca in the square, and in front of it there is the famous sedia di Attila, the throne on which the tribunes once sat to administer justice.
A short distance away we find the Estuario Museum that contains some interesting archeological finds from the Roman, Byzantine and Medieval periods. If you have the time, we recommend a romantic dinner at the Locanda Cipriani, one of the places that Hemingway loved most.