The ever attractive lagoon of Venice does not seem to lose its shine, not even when overflown with tourists or faced with occasional infrastructural problems. It has inspired thousands of poems and surely ignited a spark in a romance or two. The very name Venice conjures up images of gondolas, masks, serenades, and steeped-in-history palazzos. The shallow Venice lagoon is made up of a lot of small islands, with a maze of canals branching all around. Not every island will be an utterly jaw-dropping experience, but there are surely several of them well-worth your time.
Murano is very popular among the islands in the Venetian lagoon, and makes for a great day out. Of course, its main attraction is the long-standing tradition of glass-making, reaching hundreds of years back in time. Up to a few centuries ago, the art of making glass was a secret well-kept, known only to the artisans of Murano. Murano glass makers enjoyed a privileged status in the Republic – they could carry swords, and their daughters were allowed to marry into the rich, blue-blooded families of Venice. Their life was bittersweet, however, since the rights they were granted were a poor compensation for their freedom. Murano artisans were forbidden to leave Venice or to set up their business elsewhere.
Glass making in Murano held a dominant place in Europe for centuries thanks to one particular skill unique to its artisans – they knew how to create glass mirrors. Over the time they refined special techniques of making multicoloured glass and jewel imitations.
You will find the well-preserved tradition on the island, adjusted for tourists and all budgets. The products on Murano island range from the finest glass jewellery to kitsch knick-knacks.
The island of Burano ranks high among tourists. Another artisan paradise with a rich history, in that respect similar to Murano, it is famous for lace-making and brightly coloured façades that line up narrow streets.
A vaporetto to Burano will go past Murano, the cemetery island of San Michele, the quiet island of Torcello and other small islets. Take advantage of this scenic ride and make a short stop at Mazzorbo. This is a small island with a 14th century church, and a great view of Burano. Our tip – you can walk over a foot bridge and easily cross over to Burano.
The small island of Guidecca has long been overlooked and unjustly ignored. Nowadays its abandoned factories have made room for some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and the island is getting a makeover of sorts. The ongoing process of gentrification is visible on every step. It is still a go-to place if you need to escape the masses, experience the everyday life in Venice, and see the old factories and shipyards, or mingle with the locals. Guidecca is only 3 minutes away from St.Mark’s Square by ferry and has a great view of the square itself and the Doge’s Palace.
Torcello is a peaceful island in the Venice lagoon. Once upon a time, it was home to spectacular palaces and churches. When badly hit with malaria epidemics,Torcello became abandoned and plundered, and nowadays offers its visitors many walking paths, lovely countryside, and the remains of Byzantine mosaics in a 7th century cathedral. You may find it somewhat surprising, but the seemingly deserted island houses one of the most famous restaurants in the world, Cipriani. By all means good for avoiding maddening crowds.
These are some of the popular islands in the lagoon of Venice. We are sure you will find plenty of hidden spots, maybe even some you will always want to return to, and relive memorable moments under the Venetian moonlight.