Italy – Murano & Burano

Our Costa Mediterranea cruise was supposed to dock in the port of Trieste today, but due to “inclement weather”, the captain had cancelled the port and given us an extra day to explore Venice. We were a bit bummed out about this because Trieste looked like a fabulous port and we had already planned for two days at the end of the cruise to explore Venice but c’est la vie!

Early morning view of a Grand Canal mansion; Venice Detail of a waterfront mansion; Murano Fondamenta dei Vetrai (waterfront) where numerous Murano glass shops and workshops can be found Another view of Fondamenta dei Vetrai with the 19th century clock tower of Campo Santo Stefano in the distance Blue glass star structure, Campo Santo Stefano; Murano Glass cuttlefish for sale; Murano Palazzo Da Mula, the summer residence of the Venetian patricians Skyline of Murano dominated by the 1498 bell tower of San Pietro Martire Twisted lamp posts; Murano Boat rowers; Murano Archway detail of a glass blower; Murano Intricate glass work! Close up of glass fruit ranging from 1 to 3 inches in height; Murano Exterior of a Murano glass blowing workshop Murano mosaic glass tile display Faro (lighthouse); Murano Robby enjoying his favorite Italian city, Burano View of the cimitero and the island of Murano Dusk in Venice Sunset over the Grand Canal; Venice Glass flowers decorate the waterfront; Murano Panoramic view of Murano's Grand Canal and Vivarini Bridge (1866). This is the widest canal in Murano and divides the island in two parts Panorama of Fondamenta dei Vetrai; Murano Colorful houses of Burano Countless photo opportunities abound in picturesque Burano View of Via Galuppi, Burano's main street Check out the "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" house at the end of the bridge, half green and half red. Only in Burano! Why the colorful houses? Supposedly during winter time Burano has lots of foggy days and when the fishermen came back after fishing they could easily recognize their own home Burano is a photographer's delight. We really wished we could stay overnight here We loved the bold splashes of color seen in every corner of Burano! Bright and cheery houses; Burano Another panoramic view of pretty Burano A bike parked in front of an intersection of color; Burano The Church of Santa Maria e San Donato (believed to house the bones of the dragon slain by Saint Donatus); Murano A colorful corner of Burano Colorful window; Burano Bridge view of Burano A decaying window; Burano Enjoying our visit to the lovely island of Burano! purchase photo gallery softwareby VisualLightBox.com v6.1

After disembarking, we checked out the tours on offer at the port. A 3 hour Murano/Burano tour for 20 Euros per person sounded like a reasonable deal, but we didn’t want to be limited time wise on either island. So we looked at hopping on a vaporetto and doing the excursion independently. With a single vaporetto ticket costing a whopping 7.50 Euro, we quickly calculated that a full day 24 hour unlimited pass (20 Euro) would be slightly better value since we had to take a minimum of 3 vaporettos for the day. We bought our 24 hour pass at the ticket office in Piazzale Roma and then waited for vaporetto number 3 or 4.2 lines in the direction of Murano. The first vaporetto only went to San Michele (the Cimitero or cemetery island), so we were glad we asked before hopping on. Thankfully we remembered to stamp our tickets in the yellow machine before getting onto the vaporetto, because the waiting area got super crowded and people started pushing their way on as soon as our vaporetto arrived.

The boat ride out to Murano was pretty scenic as we got to see a bunch of mansions that overlook the Grand Canal and the lagoon. Before we knew it, we had arrived at the island of Murano (aka the “Glass Island”), famed for its many glass workshops. We had read beforehand that Venetians have long been famous for their work with crystal and glass (since the 10th century). However, due to the fire hazards associated with glass blowing, in 1291 the entire industry was uprooted and moved to the island of Murano. Apparently, Venice wanted to avoid the numerous fires caused by the furnaces as almost all the Venetian houses during that time were made of wood! We also found out that glass blowing was such an invaluable trade secret that any glass worker who left Murano was deemed guilty of treason and subject to assassination!! Manufacturing secrets were so jealously guarded that they were handed down from father to son, and the expatriation of any glazier-masters from Murano island was strictly forbidden to guarantee Murano’s monopoly on the glass blowing industry.

From the Murano Colonna vaporetto stop, we walked down into Fondamenta dei Vetrai (the waterfront) and stumbled upon dozens of shops selling Murano glass, ranging from chandeliers to gorgeous jewelry and opulent trinkets. We spent about two hours exploring the island before it became overrun with tourists by lunchtime. So we quickly decided it was time to head over to the nearby island of Burano, catching vaporetto line 12 from the Faro (lighthouse). We had seen photos of Burano beforehand, but nothing prepares you for the shock of colors when you visit in person. Unfortunately, we arrived to this photogenic island during the midday sun, which bleached out the obscenely colorful rows of fishermen’s houses. Burano is famous for its handmade lace, but very few women maintain the local traditions and only a handful of production houses remain. Apparently most of the lace for sale in the local shops is NOT hand made but of the machine variety. We weren’t here for the lace though. The colorful houses intrigued us most, so we wandered the backstreets and took photos to our hearts content. Robby quickly proclaimed Burano was his favorite part of our Italian itinerary thus far! We spent the entire afternoon here, and finally had to tear ourselves away for the long (and super crowded) vaporetto return trip back to Venice. Overall a fantastic day!

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