Visiting Venice: Look beyond the obvious

If you were a boat craving attention and by some weird stroke of bad luck ended up in Murano you would be – let’s put it mildly – in for a bitter disappointment. This tiny Italian island is one of the many in the Venetian Lagoon where being a fancy gondola is the only boat existence that counts. Every other form of vessel, be it a rusty fishing boat that would catch the attention of hobby photographers anywhere else in the world or a huge cruise ship passing by the San Marco square simply gets ignored. Gondolas and gondoliers wearing their funny straw hats and striped shirts steal the show around here. So much so that even some 30 km away people are taking selfies sitting in a gondola in the middle of a shopping mall with no water in sight.

Gondolieri in Venice

What I’m trying to say is that if you are planning to visit Venice you should keep your eyes open for the less obvious sights too. So when you get fed up with crowds, 10 EUR coffee and surly waiters (it’s not a question of if but when), Murano is a great place to escape to. And once you get used to the fact that there are no gondolas around you might even notice a beautiful wooden rowing boat like this one which is “just a boat”.

Boat in Murano

Get there:
Murano is only a short boat ride away from Venice. There are several excursions available which may include some other islands and a tour of a glass factory, but you can easily catch a public vaporetto boat and do some exploring on your own. A single ticket costs 7.5 EUR (Venice prices, better get used to them). If you’re planning to visit any other islands you’re better off with a 24-hour pass at 20 EUR.

See & do:
Visit the Murano Glass Museum or one of the several glass factories which go by the name of “fornice” or just browse through numerous shops selling everything from glass candies to huge chandeliers with a price tag of several thousand euro. If you like glass jewellery you might well end up with a stock of colourful rings, bracelets and earrings that will last you a lifetime.

If you’re feeling really adventurous and are willing to forget your fantasy of waking up to the view of Canal Grande or would simply like to save some euros for all that jewellery get a room in Murano. We got a great rate at the stylish Lagare Hotel Venezia which is located within the walls of an ancient glass factory and houses a permanent exhibition of Murano glass artists. The hotel offers a free private boat shuttle from the pier at the Venice Airport.

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