Murano Island in the Venetian Lagoon
Murano is a small island in the Venetian lagoon in Italy. Although it is described as in island, it is in fact a series of small islands which are joined together with bridges. The island is mainly famous for its glass work and especially for its beautiful lamps. Murano was once a commune but is now it falls under the jurisdiction of Venice. It is believed that the island was first inhabited by the Romans, like most places in Italy. And it was in 1291 that the Venetian glass makers were forced to move to the island due to the risks involved in the process.
Ever since the 13th century, glass making has been the forte of the island and the local glass makers here are still famous for their beautifully created glass pieces.
Getting to Murano
Murano is located only a mile away from Venice and can be easily reached through ferries or motorboats which are known as Vaporreti. These motor boats depart every few minutes from Venice and only take around ten minutes to reach the island. These water taxis are run and managed by ACTV. During the rush hours and peak office timings the motor boats can get very crowded so it is best to avoid taking the boats during these hours. The tickets are quite inexpensive and advance booking is not required.
Moving Around Murano
Murano is quite a small island so exploring it on foot is the best possible option. There are no other facilities for exploring the island since the streets here are quite small and there are several bridges that connect the smaller islands of the Murano archipelago. Murano has beautiful streets with trees lining both sides for shade so even in summers walking around would not be uncomfortable. There are several small Squares and lanes which are perfect for strolling around in the afternoons.
Attractions on Murano
There aren't many sight seeing attractions in Murano, most visitors come here to experience the laid back and relaxed lifestyle of the island and to walk around its pretty streets. However, there are a few places which visitors might want to visit while here.
Church of Santa Maria e San Donata
The church of Santa Maria e San Donata is the best place to visit while on the island. The church is known for its mosaic pavements in the Byzantine style which dates back to the 12th century and is quite noteworthy. According to the local legends the church has the bones and the remains of the dragon which was slain by Saint Donatus.
Church of San Pietro Martire
The Church of San Pietro Martire is another noteworthy church on the island. The church has a beautiful chapel dedicated to the Ballarin family which was built here in the 16th century. Although the church isn't very large or grand, it does have beautiful architecture. The interior of the church is understated and beautiful with attention to small details.
The Palazzo Giustinian is quite a wonderful sight. The palace overlooks the Grand Canal and is situated next to Ca'Foscari. Those interested in architecture would want to visit the palace since it is a good example of the Late Venetian gothic style of architecture and is quite an interesting building. The palace was known to the last residence of Princess Louis Marie Theresa of France.
Museum of Glass Making
The museum of glass making is housed in the beautiful Palazzo Giustinian and is dedicated to the art of glass making which is practiced by the locals of Murano since centuries. The museum show cases the history of glass making in Murano over the years and has some interesting yet beautiful pieces of glass work done by the local artists.
Stay and Accommodation
Most tourists prefer to stay in Venice and travel to the island for a day trip. There are only a few tourists who stay on the island to explore it over two or three days. There are a few options available for those who prefer to stay back on the island, although not many since the island is quite small. The hotels here are not very large but are definitely charming. Most hotels here are owned and run by families which make the experience quite intimate and friendly. The tariffs here are not quite high which makes it a pleasant experience in comparison to the expensive hotels in Venice. The best known hotel on the island is the Murano Palace. The hotel is quite clean and comfortable and most rooms here have balconies that provide beautiful views of the lagoon and the small canals and bridges.
Eating on Murano
There are limited options for eating out in Murano since not many tourists frequent the island except for day excursions. There are a few traditional trattorias here on the island, some small restaurants, quite a lot of gelatarias, cafes and some small bars. The food here is simple Italian fare, rustic home style dishes and lots of fresh sea food. The hotels on the island have their own restaurants but they are expensive and aren't very good. The smaller restaurants where the locals eat are the best places to try out like the Trattoria Busa alla Torre. The Trattoria has simple but good food, mostly two courses with a good selection of local wines. The dishes here are not very expensive either.
Shopping on Murano
Murano doesn't have many places for shopping. Shopping on the island revolves around the beautiful glass pieces that are created by the local artisans. There are plenty of shops on the island that sell these glass art works, most of which are quite beautiful. However, visitors need to be careful while selecting pieces since the cheaper ones would not be the authentic pieces. The pieces which are authentic and traditionally made are generally quite expensive.