If you’ve missed my previous Italy travel blogs, here they are!
Here I am, writing my day seven in Italy and also our final destination, Venice.
After spending sometime within Venice city itself, we’d found ourselves doing some islands hopping. Yes we are going to visit Murano, Burano and Torcello, and when we finished, we ventured out towards the ‘no-tourist’ zone, the other side of Venice and saw a cathedral.
Having booked the tickets to the famous Venice islands – Murano, Burano and Torcello, we headed straight to the port. The entire trip would take around 4 hours and the boat would pick us up at 11am.
This was our second day in Venice, and anyone could easily get lost in this maze-like city. We left at 9:30am thinking that it would give us enough time to get to the port next to San Marco square and yet a normally 30-minute walking journey did turn out to be just over an hour! Despite having my hiking GPS, there were blind spots where I had no receptions and getting a bearing proved to be too much for us.Yet during our ‘blind-walk’, we discovered a few very beautiful landmark buildings which we came back the next day. Rushing to the port, we breezed through these lovely spots.
When I said getting lost was a little different than you might think. Both Sue and I didn’t like the normal routes and we loved to explore the city so we ventured outside the ‘tourists’ paths. If we did, getting lost was simply not an option and we would get to where we wanted to go. Alternatively, we could have taken the water bus near our hotel and got straight to the port too. But I guess many of you who are reading this right now would do the same as us, explore on foot!
So when we got to the port, there was a queue of people already. It was yet another lovely day. Our expectation was high because of the reputations of these islands, especially Burano, a small island decorated with colourful houses.
Each of these islands has its own industry. Murano was glass-making, Burano was lace-making and Torcello was just an island with an old church.
Our tour starts with Burano. The water journey took us about 20 minutes to get there. Since it was a tour, we did what we did by getting into a glass factory, saw an exhibition where a few guys were blowing glass. It was an experience if you haven’t seen one before. After the ‘performance’, we were ‘forced’ to go to their showroom to see their creations which we did’t enjoy. All of us tourists did get a quick walk before we ventured out of the factory and saw the town briefly.
Each of the island was small and to be frank, Murano didn’t have much to see either so we didn’t miss much. After 15 minutes or so, we headed back to the boat and ready for our next stop.
Burano is probably the most scenic of the three. The government even controls the colour of each house on the island too! Moreover these colorful houses has become a recognisable ‘face’ of the island, the government wanted to ensure that this ‘face’ maintains the same look for the foreseeable future. I didn’t mind it because it really looked beautiful.
Before we had a chance to explore the town, we were once again forced into a lace shop to see an old lady making laced cloth and then to their shop to see if we would spend any money. NO, we didn’t. We were more excited to get out and see the colourful town indeed.
Burano and Torcello were both tiny. We walked around Burano in around 30 minutes. But that’s also time we had left before heading to our final destination. I absolutely loved this island. If we ever had a chance to go back, I wouldn’t be bother about the other two and spend a day in Burano instead. There was so much to photograph but we just didn’t have the time. That is the only downside of joining a tour. Time wasn’t something that we could control.
Oh, I nearly forgot to say about toilet. Ummm… make sure you find one when you have a chance. There’s none on the boat. There was one in the glass factory and I should have visited before continuing our journey. There was none in Burano unless you spend something in one of their restaurants. Then Torcello was the probably the ONLY place with a public toilet. And as usual, it’s a PAID-ONLY toilet too. But when you are desperate, there was no choice but to pay indeed.
So the only memory I had with Torcello was its lovely toilet. No I lie. Many came to see the Byzantine mosaics in the seventh century Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’Assunta. Much of its history could be found online but the Cathedral itself stood the test of time since the island was found sometime in the 5th century. Torcello was actually older than Venice itself and used to have lots of habitants and there were churches, palace and more!
But there are not many remains nowadays and all that’s left is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’ Assunta. Once again, our guided tour didn’t allow much time to see the church apart from walking around the outside. Getting into the Cathedral also requires a paid ticket so if you fancy looking into the history of Torcello, don’t join the guided tour and spend more time there.
Islands hopping around the Venetian Lagoon isn’t too difficult. There are plenty of water transport that you can use. Having sufficient advance planning, you are most definitely rewarded with stunning memories and photos of these beautiful islands!
When we got back to Venice, we were still early so we decided to check out other places. We started walking south from San Marco Square, passed an isle packed with super luxury shops, then through many other local shops before eventually arriving at the Ponte degli Scalzi (The barefoot bridge), one of the only four bridges that spans across the Grand Canal.
After crossing the bridge, we were greeted by abundance of art shops and galleries. They were also less touristy. As much as I love photography, I am also an admirer for painting and there were plenty on display. I love this part of Venice, a very tranquil part indeed. We literally spent the next hour walking around this part of the Venice before hitting Punta Della Dogana, an art museum and finally resting at the Santa Maria Della Salute. It was a very ‘white’ building which dominated by its octagonal centre.
After a short rest, it was time to end our day with yet another delicious dinner. We took a different route back home and landed ourselves in one of the local pub which served traditional Italian food. Funny enough, it was run by a local born Chinese! He was very friendly and kept trying to practice his Mandarin with me!
A few more photos for your pleasure!