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Visiting Murano and Burano from Venice is only a short vaporetto ride away from the main island. They are two unique islands. Both are famous for their own crafts of glass and lace, respectively.
Venice is the capital of the Veneto region. The area is made up of 118 islands within the lagoon. The main tourist spots here are, of course, Venice, Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Before our three-day trip to Venice, we did some research and decided that we would have a day out of the city and take a trip over to the islands of Murano and Burano.
How to Get To Murano And Burano From Venice
We walked from our hotel to Fondamente Nova along the northern side of Venice. There are several floating ferry stops, booths and machines. Our tickets cost 21 euros each. This was for a day-pass. You could use this as many times as you like within 24 hours and for any route.
We boarded our water bus, line number 4.1, and this stopped first at the Isola di San Michele, the island cemetery. We had planned to visit this on our way back, but underestimated how much time we would spend on the other two islands. So instead, saved our visit for the next day. From here, the vaporetto then sailed on to Murano.
The Laidback Island of Murano
As we got off the ferry at Murano, there were people from nearby glass shops and factories already asking us to visit them for glass blowing demonstrations and gift buying. We decided we would take our time and look around and not rush ourselves into a glass factory. We walked into the centre of Murano and were amazed by how pretty it was, much like a miniature Venice but much less crowded. Shops everywhere selling souvenirs, glass ornaments and jewellery.
We spent some time walking by the canals and having a nosey around some of the stores, buying a handful of souvenirs. We sat for a while, took photographs, and made our way over bridges into different parts of the town.
Visiting A Glass Factory
We walked a little further and then we found a glass factory, Vetreria Artistica Colleoni. After a quick Google search; we visited. This one looked fantastic. The cost of the ticket was 10 euros each for a wonderful lesson on the art of glass being blown. We were told we would get this money back as a reduction on anything we bought in the gift shop afterwards.
We sat in a small group and watched the glass blower at work. I have always wanted to see this being done. He made two things. I found it absolutely fascinating to see what started out as nothing, a blob of hot glass, was beautifully transformed into a decorative bowl. He made it look so easy. He then made a small glass horse which he dropped close to finishing, a leg snapped off it, poor horse, but it made us all laugh with him.
Afterwards they directed us to the to the gift shop. It looked like a museum, to be honest. We chose and bought a lovely Murano glass Christmas tree ornament, a delicate little angel. We collect Christmas decorations from our travels, so this will be a great addition. Some pieces in the shop cost insane amounts of money, well into the thousands, but they were so beautiful. Wine and champagne glasses, animals, all kinds of different things, and the chandeliers were absolutely out of this world.
A Free Street Performance
After our visit, we explored further. We found ourselves on a bridge behind the Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus (Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato) taking photos. A man set up a chair and played a small Accordion instrument. It was great to listen to. He was very good, and it added to the atmosphere. Then, a few minutes later, from nowhere, we heard a voice. We turned round to see an older Italian gentleman passing by, bursting into song.
The song ’O sole mio’ echoed around the small square. Everyone just stopped to watch, amazed. It was fantastic. When he stopped, everyone clapped and cheered, and as quick as he appeared to sing, he was away. He and the musician exchanged a quick fist-bump. Both of us were delighted to have witnessed this. It really made our day. We made sure we added a few euros to his collection box too, for the free entertainment. Many others did too.
We then found a small cafe by a canal where we would eat lunch, drink an Aperol spritz and plan what we would do next.
Historical Clock Towers of Murano
Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus
This 7th century church is said to hold the bones of a dragon slain by St. Donatus of Arezzo. It also has some of the most incredible Byzantine mosaic floors. The church is free to enter. At the time of our trip, it was undergoing some restoration work, so they covered some sections and altars with scaffolding and plastic sheets. It was still worth the quick visit.
The Colourful Island Of Burano
Next up was Burano. We got there using the line 12 ferry, and this journey was slightly longer than it took us to get to Murano.
Burano is famous for its needlework, lace to be specific. There are shops selling this everywhere. I went into one small shop to have a look and it was full of handmade items. There were table covers, handkerchiefs, sweet holders, and decorations to name a few things.
This lovely Nonna was sitting at her sewing table. Instead of a standard face covering to help protect her from Covid, she had, of course, one made from lace. No doubt she made this herself. She came over to me and showed me around, showing me the things she had made. I could understand a little of what she was telling me and could see how proud she was of her wares. I would have loved to have stayed there and watched her at work for longer.
The Houses Burano
The buildings in Burano were brightly coloured, more so than they were in Murano. They really stood out. It is said that the fishermen of Burano painted the houses in bright tones so they could see them and recognise their homes on the island through thick fog and mist.
The Home of Giuseppe Toselli, Casa di Bepi Suà
The next place we were looking forward to seeing was Casa Bepi. A beautiful, brightly painted building previously owned by Giuseppe Toselli. The locals affectionately knew him as Bepi Suà (Bepi of the candies). Bepi sold candy on the streets of Burano and then opened an open air cinema in the courtyard at the front of his house. In the 1960s, he painted and decorated the facade in the vibrant colours and geometric shapes we see today. He was always changing the look by repainting it pretty much every day. After he died, his sister looked after the property.
It was then sold and turned into a bed-and-breakfast. Sadly, though, today, there is nothing inside. It is still a destination for tourists to come and take photographs.
You can find Bepi’s house on Corte del Pistor, just up from Piazza Baldassarre Galuppi.
Campanile Pendente, The Leaning Bell Tower
This fantastic tower belongs to the Church of Saint Martin Bishop. The tower was built in the 17th century and is 53 meters tall. Over the years, it has undergone several restorations and lots of work. They always topped the tower with an angel, but since 1867, after a huge storm, the angel fell. A large iron cross has now replaced this.
Because of subsidence, the tower now has a lean of 1.83 meters! The best place on the island to see the lean in full effect is a short walk East, at Terranova’s marble bridge.
The Lego Wall
We found this quirky little wall as we continued to explore. I call it the ‘Lego Wall’ just because it reminded me of Lego building blocks. They have brightly decorated the wall with paint and knick-knacks. A fun little spot for photographs and worth a look if you get a chance. You can find this just behind the leaning bell tower.
Time For Gelato
The whole of our trip we were extremely lucky with the weather, especially for March. On this day it was glorious, so we set out to find something we always have when in Italy, gelato. We found a little place tucked away on Calle della Provvidenza, called Gelateria Crema. We ate them on the street outside and soaked up more of the sun’s rays. They were so good.
If you are looking for ideas and would like to check out some places we ate at in Venice, you can read this post, Places To Eat And Drink In Venice.
After our gelato, we wandered further into the streets. Saying ‘hello’ to people as we passed by, we absolutely love this side of our trips, getting to meet the locals and trying to speak a few words of their native language.
We then saw my absolute favourite locals, the cats. Myself and Jason are absolute cat lovers and have one of our own, so we always try to seek them out on our trips. We even buy treats for them and feed them as we go. We came across a small group of three, all friendly, but one more so than the others, who came straight over for some tickles.
After a short time, we began the walk back for our vaporetto, saying one last goodbye to the beautiful buildings and canals of Burano. As we were on our way back over to Venice, I felt thankful for the beautiful islands we had visited that day, especially after the past couple of years.
The Island Of Mazzorbo
Although we didn’t visit, the island of Mazzorbo just off of Burano is easily accessible by walking over the Ponte Longo bridge on the island’s North-Western tip. The island is small, but home to several vineyards and Burano cemetery. A peaceful place away from most of the touristy areas.
My Trip Highlights
My highlight of the day was meeting the lovely Nonna in her lace shop. I could make out through her broken English that the shop had been in her family for generations, and she was proud to make the lace of Burano. She was an incredible woman.
Jasons Trip Highlights
I absolutely loved the spontaneous street singer in Murano, who serenaded us all with a burst of ’O sole mio’. It made the day really special and made me enjoy the rest of the trip even more. Burano was beautiful. I think I liked it just a little more than Murano.
More Fantastic Ideas For Your Murano and Burano Trip
Panoramic Boat Tour to Murano, Burano, & Torcello. Board a panoramic boating vessel and discover the most famous islands of Venice. Relax as your guide introduces you to locations like Murano, Burano and Torcello on this full-day outing.
Full-Day Murano, Burano and Torcello Boat Tour. Discover the main islands of the lagoon, with plenty of time at your disposal. You will discover Murano with its centuries-old art of glassmaking, Burano with its colorful houses, and Torcello, complete with its historical artifacts.
Mazzorbo, Burano and Murano Island Walking Tour. Hop from island to island on this Venice walking tour. Admire the serene nature of Mazzorbo, the colorful houses of Burano, and the artistic glass artwork that adorns Murano.