‘There is something so different in Venice from any other place in the world that you leave at once all accustomed habits and everyday sights to enter an enchanted garden’ – Mary Shelley
If you want to escape the buzzing of the city, you can still opt for a nice visit of the islands which are around Venice. I will focus on five main ones: il Lido, Murano, Burano, Torcello and the cemetery. You have other islands which are less famous of course.
In order to join the islands, you need to take the vaporetto, a small boat that is used as a waterbus. The normal ticket for 75 minutes is 7.50 euros, and the day ticket is 20 euros. Yes…Venice is slowly but surely killing your bank account… Nevertheless, you can do the Islands in one day if you focus on essential things to see. If you want more information about transport, you can go here.
The Lido is not only a French cabaret. It is also the largest island of Venice. This island has become very famous thanks to the development of sea resorts. In the 19th century, it became fashionable for rich people to go to the seaside and enjoy a healthier lifetsyle while escaping from the rocky and bustling lifestyle of the city. Its growth is also due to the fact that a service of vaporetti was established all day and night thus insuring a frequent to and fro from the city. The Lido also welcomes the Mostra, a film festival known worldwide. When you go there, you have the fierce impression to be in the South of France. You will find long beaches of white sand, bars and cafés, fashion stores… It is the dream island of Venice!
The island of Murano is famous for its glassmakers. Actually, it is a very old story, this one. In 1291, Venice decided to transfer to Murano the workshops of glass artisans because their ovens were spreading fires all around the city (made essentially out of wood). Murano gained the name of ‘La Isola dei Fuoci’ (the Island of the Fires).
Isolating the workshops was also a way to preserve all the secrets of the Venezian glassworkers! You will be able to visit a few workshops if you go there, and appreciate the art of glassblowing (the fact to blow in hot glass through a long tube to give it a wanted form, yeah…I know…).I love Murano. It looks like a smaller Venice!
Murano, Burano… It is complex to remember which is which! Burano is the island with the colourful houses that you probably saw online. Well, it is one of the most colourful places in the world.It is my favourite island! It is not only thanks to its polychromatic buildings, but also to the fact that it is so calm and relaxing. Even more than Murano. It made me think of a Scandinavian town, really. You do not have to plan anything in Burano, you just have to walk on in any direction. You will always discover a magical panorama. Moreover, you will find various shops selling wool and lace clothes and accessories. It is the island’s speciality nowadays. But, you ask : why so many colours? It was meant to delimit the properties. No romantic reason for this I am afraid…There is a legend, though. It says that the fishermen painted their houses in a bright colour to be able to recognise it from afar after months of absence. Seriously, I prefer this version!
This house is a bit special. It looks like an artist’s abode. Instead of having one colour, you can find drawings and a list of the biggest floods that happened in Burano.
Another house, called Casa Bepi (Bepi is a shorter name for Giuseppe), is very difficult to find! It is in a small alley near the main street. I would never have found it without the help of the internet! It has the particularity to have more than one colour! In such a colourful landscape, it might seem overrated, but I can assure you that it appeals even more to the eye!
…isnt’t a beautiful place?
Torcello is a very small island.It is a wild and abandoned landscape you will encounter there. There are one or two bars and restaurants (including the very famous Cipriani). I decided to write about it because there is one thing I really really really really really (have you understood that REALLY?) like: Attila’s Seat. Yeah, I know! Isn’t it like the best thing in the world? My passion for history is leading me astray…again! Sorry! Well, he never sat on it…but the name does the job. Other than that, you will find a cathedral and a church. Nothing as important as Attila’s Seat, I can tell you!
Il Cimitero di San Michele:
Yes. A whole island is dedicated to dead people. It was only in the 19th century that the island of San Michele became the municipal cemetery, after being a monastery and an abbey. Igor Stravinski is buried there. You are not allowed to take pictures inside, as it is a place of grief and contemplation.
You will find other islands all around Venice like San Giorgio Maggiore:
If you are set to visit all the islands, you are planning for a two or three-day escapade. Some people may be afraid to take the vaporetto. Being on water does not appeal to everyone. Nevertheless, you will be able to see wonderful views and really feel part of Venice. I love just standing on the waterbus and look on the horizon (and fight with the wind while it is making a mess of my hair…) Travelling by vaporetto will give you a better perspective of the city. DO IT!
I am done with my boat trip. Shall we next meet at the Rialto? Just take the vaporetto and wait for the Rialto stop. Easy, isn’t it?
I M Gullivering