If you’re looking for the perfect day trip from Venice, then you don’t have to look any further than two very small islands in the Venetian lagoon. We explored the islands of Murano and Burano, and it was the best way to spend half a day. Both communities are tight-knit, but they are still very welcoming to visitors. They’re all eager to share the culture that they’re so proud of.
Our private tour guide met us in the lobby of our hotel and whisked us away on our own water taxi. It was so nice to have such a knowledgeable guide to answer our questions and explain the history!
Murano, the larger of the two islands, is famous for their glassmaking. Glassmakers originally set up their businesses in Venice, but their furnaces caused too great of a fire risk. In the twelfth century, all glassmakers were forced to take their business out to the island of Murano. Centuries later, Murano glass is one of the most sought after in the world. We toured B.F. Signoretti, one of the oldest glass making factories in Murano. The artists were so talented and their showroom is unbelievable! I bought a small (and I mean small) Christmas ornament for $30. I fell in love with a gorgeous silver vase, but for $3200 I was fine to leave that in Italy! Needless to say, I was terrified we were going to break something!
Type A Tidbit:
Keep your eyes peeled for real Murano glass throughout the town! Glass flowers decorate window sills and hand rails. Don’t miss the giant glass sculpture in the town’s square!
Be aware of all of the counterfeit glass claiming to be “real Murano glass.” If the price seems reasonable, then it’s probably fake. Look for the Murano glass official seal to know if the product is authentic.
Murano looks like a fairytale village because of its brightly colored houses all over the island! Legend states that when fishermen were returning home from a long fishing trip, they wanted to spot their houses from as far away as possible. Besides being a fishing village, Burano is famous for handmade lace.
Women start the art of lace making at a very young age. They attend a school specializing in lace production and then seek apprenticeships. Unfortunately, lace making is becoming a lost art. The specialized school has closed down, so no one is being taught anymore. Young women are pursuing other careers since lace making is tedious work without much compensation. We were fortunate enough to meet the youngest lace maker still alive, and she’s 65 years old! We watched her work on a small design that would later sell for about $500. That sounds like a nice profit, but each piece takes several years to complete. And since each lace maker specializes in only one type of stitch, the profit is then split between everyone that worked on that piece. Of course, I found a tablecloth I wanted… until I saw the price tag of $8,000!
I’m glad we took the time to visit Murano and Burano. If you’re in Venice longer than 2 days, then this is a worthwhile add-on to your trip!