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Posted by on Jun 25, 2012 in Europe, Italy

The Islands of Lace and Glass

The Islands of Lace and Glass – I am speaking of none other than Burano and Murano. The two islands North of Venice. The cities are both distinctively beautiful with their signature traditions of both lace making and glass blowing. But I didn’t see either of those activities while I was there – what kept me entertained?

I’ve experienced both lace making and glass blowing on my last trip to Venice. And with me on a tight budget, I couldn’t afford to watch them again. I searched for free presentations – but each shop I entered told me I have to buy something to view the process. Instead I wandered the streets of the Islands being fascinated by their colour and beauty. I wanted to find that initial excitement I felt 5 years ago at seeing this destination for the first time. I wanted to stand her and know that 5 years of global travel did not make me jaded; that it has not adjusted my idea of what is a treat for my eyes and soul.

Murano was my first stop. It is larger than Burano and less colourful – at least visually. But the people were as colourful. Just look at this man who’s dog proudly leads the way for the boat. Or the Giant blown glass statue in the centre of town. Murano has a more relaxed feel to it and it was easier to escape the tourists on the island. As usual – walking two streets over saves me so much tourist-induced stress. I like my solitude while wandering.

Burano had me giddy. I’ve wanted to return since I visited her 5 years ago. The colours are so vivid and the houses all in squares. It reminds me of a Lego world so carefully crafted. But why ARE the houses painted this way? There are different theories. But I like the one that says the houses are painted different colours so the fishermen could identify their homes upon return from long bouts at sea. I always wonder how the colour helped – did they take swaths on a piece of wood and walk around town upon return in search of the matching colour. LIke a game of Hide-and-Seek House edition.

I took the Vaporetto to the islands and it took just under an hour to arrive to Murano. As I was using the 72Hr Venice Card – the ride was free – or well – unlimited travel for the reasonable price of 22€. The vaporetto was very busy – and thus the islands were very busy.

And like Venice, The Islands are expensive. I brought my own water for the day and I purchased only a small crab stuffed sandwich for 1.50€. My only problem – customer service. Extremely minimal in Italy – but more apparent in Venice. I asked for my sandwich – the waiter grunted at me. I received my sandwich and went to sit down. He came up and told me ‘no, sitting costs extra, get up’. Not even giving me the option to pay the extra. I wouldn’t of paid, but it seems rude to assume…

Around both islands were fountains which you could fill up on water, wash your face and hands, and just enjoy cool, refreshing water on the hot days. The only problem was, at one point I was across a river going through the islands looking at the water fountain across the way. Looking left, right, left, I couldn’t locate a bridge to get to that point. Maps wouldn’t and couldn’t help me this point. So I started to walk in hopes that a bridge would simply appear – I wanted that water fountain! After 30 minutes and many turns I found a bridge – and I eventually found my way back to the fountain I initially spotted. Could I of found another fountain? Sure I could. But that would be taking the easy route. I wanted that fountain, and I knew I could make it. If only I knew that “making it” would be such a long ways away!


Otherwise, I spent the entire day walking around the islands, enjoying their atmosphere and beautiful colours.

Do the colours fascinate you as much as they do me?



  1. Wow – I never realized the colours were so bright – It was handy that the pass covered the hour long trip to the islands. What a gorgeous place.

    • I was so pleased it did. its a long ride – but a pleasant one! My favourite Lego Land!

  2. It’s so beautiful! Did you get a picture of the fountain that you were searching for?

    • I sure did! :) It was so worth the getting lost for – free water!

  3. These pictures are gorgeous! They don’t even seem real. The colors are breathtaking. I feel like the whole display should be featured at an art gallery. Truly gorgeous. I wish I could take pictures like this.
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    • Wow – thank you so much! I’m glad my photos can convey the true beauty of the destination!! YOu’ll have to go to experience it yourself!

  4. Those are the BRIGHTEST buildings I have ever seen! On one hand it’d be cool to live there, but on the other hand it would be a lot of sensory overload every day.

    • I dont think I’d ever want to live in a Major Tourist Destination though. As much as the colours are blinding – I think the sheer numbers of tourists would be MORE overloading to the senses! They are everywhere. Always. haha But the coloursful are a great shock to the eyes!

  5. The colors DO fascinate me as much as they do you. Who needs costly attractions when you can just wander through streets like these? :)

  6. I think such “customer service” is a shame but that just shows how tourism spoils local people. I heard somewhere in Italy they want to charge tourists for entering parks in order to have money to look after the city. And what do you get? A member of staff grunting at you? Makes me put Italy off for a while.

    • Italy is stunning so I wouldn’t ever write it off, I think it just depends on where you go. If I had that many people bombarding my life constantly I’d get a little gruff too. But its always disappointing when the locals so blatantly disregard tourists. Just have to visit smaller cities and avoid tourists spots – then they will be friendly again!

  7. Hi these photos are amazing! What would you recommend going to murano and burano?

  8. Sorry I meant what time would you recommend heading there?


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