If Venice is a fantastic city to visit, I can assure you that Venice islands are worth at least a day or two during your stay.
How to get there
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may have already read this advice once or twice, (see links at the end of the post):
I highly advise you to go for local public transportation to tour the Venice Islands. Honestly, we ‘ve been quite a few times now, and we’ve tried once, only once, the guided tour. It was an awful experience. If we enjoyed a lot the night tour in Venice, with lots of history, stories, and legends, we just hated the islands guided tour.
We had three hours to get around places that are worth at least a long day, or better two days visit. We went to usual places that the guide chose for us of course. Therefore, we didn’t have time to do whatever was attractive to us. But the best part was, we were on Murano Island before the opening of the workshops! What’s the point of merely having a ten-minute walk across this island which is all about glass-blowers and not even seeing one from the far?
So, go to this website: “ACTV Muoversi,” take a day pass, or more if you want to enjoy Venice Islands longer, and by all means, enjoy at your own pace!
Few addresses amongst our favourites
We chose a few for you, but you know that we like you to discover on your own the gems hidden in the places you visit! You’ll be seeing our usual 40 photo bunch after these words, promise!
We met several of Glass-blowers and some are just not welcoming. They let you go through a shop packed with shelves full of little paste, waiting for you, your backpack or your kids to brake something so you can pay it back. Then in the corner of the shop, a craftsman is working on a glass paste ball. After letting you watch for merely 10 min, they give you have 5 min to buy something or get out of the shop! No kidding here!
We found a workshop that amazed us. The difference is we had to pay to see the blower work. But it only cost us 12€ for the family. We had a 30 min demonstration, translated in 5 different languages if you ask for it. The workshop was a real workshop, and we had benches to sit on in a corner.
At the end of the demonstration, we were taken to the entrance of the shop if we wanted to have a look. We went in, though we felt no pressure this time. The ground floor was the place of the usual pieces (made in the very workshop we visited this time). But the first floor was a museum with a fantastic collection of glass sculptures blown by the different generations of the family.
I want to mention here that the whole team was friendly and welcoming from the beginning to the end, even if we didn’t buy anything. That’s why I want to underline that the fact that we paid for the tour was a small price toward the experience we had there.
Murano sandwich takeaway
According to the Vaporetto schedule, chances are you will still find yourself on Murano around lunch time. It’s a good thing because you have a lot choice there regarding restaurant and tratorrias. We found this little, tiny even, tratorria, where we had personalized paninis that were fantastic!
Torcello Bell Tower
You have to go to the top of the Bell Tower on Torcello Island! If Burano is home to lace and colourful houses, Murano to glass-blowers, Torcello is your historical part of the day. You can buy a pass to visit one or several edifices, but I urge you, don’t miss the Bell-Tower! The view is great; you can see the whole Laguna, and Venice from the far.
You can enter the Bell-Tower through the church.
A little note here, I wouldn’t count on the cafes or restaurants on this island. They are a few of them, were quite expensive and really busy.
It will mark the end of the day and your last stop. We arrived there at sunset, as we were visiting mid-fall, but it was just perfect as the view was fantastic. This Island is the resort part of Venice, I don’t know more than the pier area because I never was in Venice to go to the beach. But the view from the pier is enough to me, and unmissable!
Leaving the main island
Visiting during the colder days transforms the whole atmosphere of the city. You will avoid the warmest temperatures you have to endure during the summer under an oppressive sun looking for shadow. Instead, it’s a mysterious misty town that you’ll visit at night. If you are an early bird (which I hugely recommend), you’ll witness Venice waking up slowly along the morning, until a beautiful sunny day is eventually welcoming you.
Isola San Michele
This island is the cemetery of Venice. I do not fancy visiting or at least exposing this kind of places, so this is it from the far:
First real stop: visiting the glass-blowers!
Would you guess that this is the place where glass-blowers manufacture the most delicate glass sculptures?
Anyway, everything is possible in the hands of these craftsmen, from the gigantic sculpture like the “Cometa di Vetro” (the Glass Comet)
To the most surprising, like a monkey or a totem
To the smallest like this window frame decorated with tiny pastes.
To the most delicate like this whole orchestra, of which each piece is no more than an inch tall!
Eventually, you can even do your math homework, but I don’t reckon my children were willing to do so!
I don’t give any particular address on this one, but it’s my favourite by far! I know it’s a common choice amongst tourists or Instagrammers, but what I like most is going through the back streets looking for gems that nobody seems to find as they don’t go further than the main canal and its line of famous colourful houses (which is really pretty to anyway!)
Cloth lines in the middle of the street! You can imagine that hardly few tourists are passing here!
If you noticed that the first pictures were quite busy with people, all these back streets were literally empty!
I believe that people are choosing carefully the colours of the clothes they hang on their lines on this island! Most of the time they match the house.
Lace shops on the main square.
Undoubtedly the main attraction of the island! I reckon this bird must be very popular now!
History is the word here, with a church, a cathedral, a bell-tower and a small museum. This island has few inhabitants, but there are few paths you can walk on that are not private.
The view from the bell-tower
Forgotten stairs along the canal leading to the ACTV station.
Ok, now this is a special one! We were in Venice with our children for the first time, exactly 20 years after we went my husband and me for the first time together. It was our engagement trip. So here are two photographs, exactly 20 years apart, at the same place!
Already sunset when we leave Torcello.
Just the view over the Laguna in itself is enough here!
Back to Venice
If the view from Lido is fantastic, the view from the Vaporetto on your way back to Venice is terrific too!
That’s all for this one! I hope you enjoyed the trip to Venice Islands.