Amazing islands in the lagoon of Venice
I’ve said goodbye to the narrow streets that look like a maze in the old heart of Venice. Of the beautiful buildings, which are more or less like an open air museum. Of the legends and mysteries of the Venetian carnival. Of the enthusiastic mask maker Giorgio. Of the many cups of coffee, the hot wines, the pizzas and even the delicious ice-cream (even though it was so cold I had to wear two pairs of socks sometimes…).
Venice and I became friends in like a week. The Italian city lays on at least a hundred little islands and are connected by bridges. But in the lagoon of Venice you find more islands to explore. The water bus, called the vaporetto, can take you to these other amazing places. A ticket costs 7,50 euros (January 2016), no matter how far you want to travel and how often you use it within 75 minutes. A day-ticket is useful if you want to explore multiple islands in one day. These tickets cost 20 euros.
A lot of color on Burano
A group of painters was really enthusiastic when they came to Burano. What a spectacle of colors you can find here! It reminds me of the capital of Curacao, Willemstad, or the colorful village Guatapé in Colombia. Burano is the place where the fishermen live. Years ago, when the fishermen came back with their boats they couldn’t find their homes because of the fog. They painted their houses with bright colors so it was easier for them to go back home. There are not a lot of sights in Burano, but that’s not the reason why you should visit the island. You can wander through the colorful streets and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. And make sure your camera battery is dead at the end of the day. The island is also famous for their lace products. Can you imagine this picture: the sun is shining and the old ladies are sitting in front of their houses, knitting whole day. It’s a pretty idyllic picture, right?
One of the first inhabited places in the lagoon: Torcello
Torcello is next to Burano and is one of the longest inhabited islands in the lagoon. Some people even call the island the forerunner of Venice. Ages ago there were a lot of churches, palaces and other beautiful buildings on the island, but unfortunately now there is not a lot to see anymore, just some ruins. However, Torcello is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Venice. It’s just so quiet here! The houses I’ve seen can be counted on two hands, it’s like you’re walking in a little nature reserve.
Murano, island of the glassblowers
In the thirteenth century the glassmakers that lived in Venice had to move to another place. The risk of fire was simply too big in such a crowded city. They moved to Murano, an island not far from Venice. They keep their production process a secret, even after centuries only a few people know how to make the Venetian glass, or better said: the Murano glass. It even seems that glassmakers who wanted to leave Murano were punished, so they couldn’t share the secrets with the rest of the world.
You can find a lot of shops on Murano where they sell the glasswork. There is a Glass Museum where you can learn a bit about the production of glass-blowing, but I think it’s even better to visit a glass factory. My mother and I had a brief private demonstration at the factory of Vetreria Artistica Colleoni. And I even helped with one of the creations! I don’t think I can call myself a real glassblower for now, but the first step is made.
The cemetery of Venice: San Michele
Between Venice and Murano you will find a small island surrounded by a thick, brown wall: San Michele. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Napoleon decided that there couldn’t be cemeteries in the center of Venice anymore. And so the island of San Michele became a cemetery. It’s strange how you can feel so relaxed and down-to-earth in a place where you are confronted with death. You see tons of tombs and graveyards here, even from people who lived during the Napoleonic wars. If you want to be somewhere quiet, you should definitely go to San Michele.