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Murano and Burano

How To Get to Murano And Burano

Murano and Burano are islands just off the coast of Venice. They are easily accessible by water bus. The water bus, or vaporetto as they’re known, runs every twenty minutes throughout the day, even in low season. You can buy tickets on the day at the stop. If you want to visit both islands then I recommend buying a day ticket for €20. This means you can get on and off as much as you need and will work out cheaper than buying individual journeys. (Time table available here). This flexibility makes visiting Murano and Burano a great excursion if you’re after a day trip during your time in Venice.

Introduction to Visiting Murano

The island of Murano closest of the islands to Venice, only 1.5km away. It is famous for its glass products and Murano glass can be bought all over the world. You’ll notice the quantity of glass shops and glass souvenirs in Venice, but it’s worth making the effort to get to Murano. To visit their souvenir shops and to see first hand how the glass is made. You will soon realise what an amazing industry they have on Murano.

Murano Glass

If you are planning a trip to Murano I recommend stopping by one of the glass blowing museums and witnessing a demonstration. For €5 per person we watched a 10 minute demonstration of a vase and an ornamental horse being made. There was a brief talk about the process of glass blowing and a few interesting facts thrown in too. The furnace seen pictured below is actually how they cool they glass down. It must be cooled slowly, over a period of 24 hours in order for the glass not to crack.

Murano glass museum fire

They make all different kinds of glass products in different shapes, sizes and colours. The stone chips pictured below is how they give the glass colour. The chips are ground down into a powder and added to the sand.

Murano glass ornaments

Exploring Murano

Murano is much like Venice to walk around but quieter and a little more spread out. The canals are wider and it generally feels less built up and ‘city-like’. Almost everywhere is accessible by foot making the waterways much quieter. In fact, during the few hours we were exploring Murano I’m not sure we even saw a moving boat. The pavements are lined with cafes, restaurants and of course souvenir shops so there’s plenty to see and explore.

Murano even has its own operational lighthouse. It was built in 1912 and stands 35m tall with a visual range of approximately 30km. Unfortunately the lighthouse is not open to the public but it is interesting to see.

Murano canal

One of the most interesting buildings on Murano is the Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato. This is one of the most ancient churches in the whole of the Venice lagoon and is open for tourists to visit. The church is decorated with mosaics and interesting works of art.

Things To Consider

Murano is a great destination to visit as part of a day trip. It only really needs a few hours dedicated to it as there’s not loads to see and do. I also wouldn’t necessarily recommend staying on Murano as you’ll constantly be getting the vaporetto into Venice and other destinations.

Introduction to Visiting Burano

Another half an hour further away the island of Burano is well worth a visit. The ferry will stop at Murano no matter which direction you’re travelling so if you’re visiting both islands it doesn’t matter which order you see them in.

Burano is famous for two things: lace making and the beautifully coloured houses that line the canals.

Burano Canals

Burano’s Houses

Before I visited myself I had of course seen photos of Burano. However, I had assumed that these gorgeous buildings were only perhaps a street or two. How wrong I was! The entire island is built in the same style, in various shades of yellow, red, orange, blue, pink and green.

Even new build houses built on the island are in-keeping with the theme. This makes it slightly other-worldly to wander around. It also makes for some great Instagram photos if that’s your cup of tea.

Posing by the colourful houses

Leaning Bell Tower

As you might notice in the photograph above Burano has a leaning bell tower. Built in the Seventeenth Century of Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture the tower has suffered from land subsidence and now has a lean of 1.83m.

Burano Lace

As well as the beautifully vibrant houses, Burano is also famous for its lace. The first lace dates back to the 1500s and often incorporated flowers, animals and geometric spirals in their designs.

The ancient legend goes that a fisherman, soon to be married, was fishing outside of the lagoon when a siren swam up to him and tried to entice him with her canto. He received a gift from the siren’s queen and upon leaving she thumped the side of the boat with her tail, creating a foam wedding veil so beautiful he could hardly believe his eyes. The day of the wedding the fisherman gave his fiancée the gift. The ladies on the island admired and envied her wedding veil so much they attempted to recreate it with needle and thread. Thus, the lace-making industry was born.

Burano lace is said to be some of the best in Europe and to this day is made and sold on the island for tourists as souvenirs.

Lace and the leaning bell tower

Things To Consider

Burano is a great destination for a half day but it is small. Also during off peak months a few of the shops are closed or have different opening hours. Burano is a nice break away from the hub of activity found on Venice but at the same time is very popular for photo taking. Even to the extent that people were queueing to take photos on certain bridges.

Visiting Murano and Burano

Both Murano and Burano are well worth a visit if you have the time during your stay in Venice. Each island is different and offers a unique experience that you won’t get staying purely on Venice.

Have I missed anything worth seeing on Murano and Burano? Let me know! And if you have visited make sure to leave a comment!

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Murano and Burano

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