Ciao Italy: Venice islands

I think it’s a bit of a misnomer to title this post Venice islands, seeing as excluding Venice Mestre it’s all just islands! None the less, I’ll be sticking with this title just to differentiate it from my other post!

When I woke up I was greeted by sunshine and the breeze. The weather was beyond perfect for a day of exploring. Good thing I started the day early, because as I was walking over to the vapporetto stop for Murano I was constantly distracted by the private looking churches and historical government buildings.

After many a detour I was finally on my way over to Murano. Of all the islands, Murano is the closet. It only took 20 or so minutes to get there. Although it was a little crowded the fantastic view more than made up for it.

Murano

Venice is well known for its hand blown glass. That hand blown glass comes from the island of Murano. It’s impossible to miss all the stores selling colourful glass and the giant glass art installation right near the clock tower. The tiny little glass miniatures in the stores were really impressive and I was tempted to buy a few bits and bobs every time I went inside a store. The only thing that stopped me was my limited funds and the pain of having to transport glassware back home.

Less the opulent grandeur of the important buildings in the main island of Venice, Murano felt almost like a different more place entirely. Charming, rather than overwhelming. The churches were also worth a quick peek inside.

There’s also a glass museum, but I decided to give it a miss in favour of going off to spend more time in Burano.

Burano

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Burano is well known for its colourful buildings. Almost all the houses are painted in varying bright shades making it a real sight to behold! It’s impossible not to be swept up along with the fairy tale setting. There were so many couples taking romantic photos and people posing in front of the buildings and it’s easy to see why. If Ryan where with me I probably would have made him do the same.

The cutest thing that I saw was an elderly couple putting out their laundry at the front of the house. It led me to wonder what do the (mostly elderly) residents of this tiny little island think of the tourists that come by every day. How do they maintain the brightly coloured houses? And how do they deal with being in everyone’s holiday snaps?

Ponderings aside, I knew that I had to visit the lace museum. It was hard to photograph all of the delicate handmade laces but trust me when I say that there were so intricate and beautiful. I just wanted to take some of it home and craft with it. I also really enjoyed learning about the process of hand making lace. The museum itself was on the small side and easy to get through. As much as I enjoyed it if you’re not a lace aficionado like me, it’s definitely not a must see.

Connected to Burano via a small bridge is also another small island. I’m not too sure what this was apart from maybe a vineyard and a church? It was almost deserted apart from me, a family and a gardener.  At that time, it really felt like I had gone back in time or straight into one of the fantasy novels that I’ve read.

Much to my delight there were also a lot of cats, which I spent an inordinate amount of time chasing and photographing.

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Torcello

Torcello is perhaps the smallest of the islands I visited. Although once an important historical trading centre, Torcello is now a very sparsely populated island with only a handful of sites and residents.

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The route around the island is almost one direct path. At the end you’re faced with the most notably landmarks: Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta and the church of Santa Fosca. The two churches right next to each other. The main draw card seemed to be the impressive golden mosaics in the church. As for the rest of the church, unlike some of the gilded cathedrals I had seen earlier, this was much sparser. Precisely because of this the years of history behind the churches was just that much more apparent.

To my great surprise, I was completely heads over heels enamoured with Torcello. Despite the tourists, it didn’t feel too crowded. I was so relaxed because I knew that there really wasn’t all that much to see. So it was bliss to just walk around in the afternoon sun and think about what I had done so far.

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I decided to head back to the main island of Venice before it got too dark. It’s impossible to get sick of wandering the streets and just taking in the sites. I snapped a quick picture of the back of the rialto bridge just to prove that I had been there in spite of the construction.

Some more photos for good measure.

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Tips:

If you plan to go to the outlying islands I cannot recommend getting a travel card enough! Individual trips can get pretty pricey and add up quickly. The cards take the hassle out of needing to keep a tight watch over how long you can spend at places before needing to buy a new ticket.

It’s also definitely possible to fit in more islands or exhibits but if you do I recommend starting early.

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