Ciao ragazzi 🙂
On my second day in Venice, I had to check out what I heard were some of the most beautiful destinations in Italy: Murano and Burano.
Don’t let the confusing ferry schedules scare you, it’s absolutely worth it to spend a day seeing them both. If you have the time, I’d even recommend you leave an entire day for each. Unfortunately for me, I only had a few hours to spend.
Both islands are in the same lagoon as Venice and are easily accessible by Vaporetto (water ferry). Murano is famous for its hand-blown glass, but underrated for its scenic bridges and canals. It’s a great way to escape the crowds on the main island.
Burano is a small, former-fishing village that’s known for its spectrum of vividly painted, almost tropical, coloured houses. Legend says the fisherman first painted their houses in bright colours so they could find their way home again through the fog (and probably Prosecco-induced haze).
If glass-blowing is the craft of Murano, lacemaking is the craft of Burano. Since the 1400’s. while it’s men were away fishing, the women of Burano became experts in lace. Today, Burano is a cheery tourist destination who’s narrow streets are lined with lace shops, artisans and little cafes.
Tips for How to Do the Perfect Murano & Burano Trip in One Day:
- Get to Fondamenta Nuove. This is the main stop to get to the other islands in the Venetian lagoon. Take the 12 line straight to Burano and get off at Burano (should take about 20 minutes and the ferries are relatively on-time).
- Start in the early morning. I would try to get to Burano by 9:00am or 10:00am to beat the crowds. I went in the afternoon and was severely turned-off by the hoards of selfie-takers.
- Stray away from the canals. Burano has lots to see other than the touristy center, make sure you see the quieter, more residential areas too.
- Pack a lunch. While Burano was once a fishing town, it doesn’t seem to offer too many notable restaurants today, the best local places being in Venice itself. You’ll save money and have a more memorable experience picnicking in Burano’s beautiful park anyway (right near the clock tower, you can’t miss it as your ferry is coming into the stop).
- Skip the Lace Museum or make it a 15 minute break. Unless you have a sincere interest in the history of lace making, you won’t be disappointed if you don’t see it. The museum itself is beautiful, but very small. I only went in to take a break from the cold and get more use out of my Museum Pass.
- See Murano in the afternoon. You can easily spend an afternoon in Murano strolling the canals and exploring its tiny shops beautiful glass shops. From Burano, take the 12 ferry towards Fondamente Nuove and get off at Faro (about a 20 minute ride). Keep in mind the ferry comes every hour and it can get busy at certain stops.
- Check out the Murano Glass Museum. I’d been to the much larger Corning Museum of Glass in New York (one of the world’s best collections ) but I was really impressed by this little one! Housed in beautiful palace on the main canal, you’ll see a full history of glass-making in Murano and Venice, as well as see some beautiful modern-art pieces. Should take you up to 2 hours and is also included in the MUVE Museum Pass.
- Buy hand-blown glass. If you want authentic, hand-blown glass sculptures, jewelry, vases, plates etc., Murano is the place to buy it! Don’t wait until you’re back in Venice and risk getting a cheap, made-in-China replica. Look for the stamp to ensure you get the most for your money.
- Optional: See real glass–makers at work. Many glass factories, are open to the public for viewing – just take a stroll on Fondamenta dei Vetrai to see them lined-up one after the other. Be wary, however, because many of them will pressure you into buying something at the end of the tour. A lot of people recommended me to do this, but I also heard that the best factories focus on their art and not on the tourists, so I didn’t end up going to any.
- See Murano’s beautiful Cathedral of Saints Mary & Donato. Totally free, this Cathedral may not be as celestial as the ones in main Venice, but it’s definitely worth a look to see the stunning Byzantine architecture and floor mosaics.
In total, you should save about 60% of your time for Burano and the other 40% for Murano, however both islands are absolutely a must-see for anyone visiting Venice. They’re arguably some of the most charming places in all of Italy. It’s also commonly recommended, depending how you like to pace your trip, to visit the beautiful mosaics of Torcello as well. Of course, if I’d had the time, I would have spent an entire day getting lost in Burano!
More pictures of Burano:
Did I miss anything? What are your tips for seeing Murano & Burano?