Would you take a tour around Venice?
Venice has indeed a great catalyzing power. Everybody agrees on that. It is not a coincidence that it is considered as one of the most beautiful and suggestive cities in the entire world. People come from every corner on the planet to visit Venice, almost as though it was a pilgrimage to a sacred place.
Today, I would like to distract your attention from the floating city and focus on something that is all the same beautiful and suggestive, but less famous: the Venetian lagoon and its islands.
Venice as seen from the top of St. Mark’s Campanile by Anna Fox
The Venetian lagoon is a shallow and enclosed bay of the Adriatic sea that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a.k.a. UNESCO, recognized as a World Heritage Site. This water basin is filled with some characteristic islands where you can experience the authentic atmosphere of sea places and fishermen’ communities.
So, if you happen to be in Venice and you have enough time, I would recommend you to find some time just to take a tour in the lagoon and pay a visit to some islands.
Aerial view of Venetian lagoon by Francesco Rossi
North of Venice, you can find the 3 largest islands of the Venetian Lagoon: Murano, Burano and Torcello. Each of them has its own characteristics and therefore deserves a visit for different reasons.
Murano is famous throughout the world for the art of glass making which dates back to the 13th century, when the Venetian Republic decided to move all the foundries located in Venice to the island, although some historians believe that glassmaking started even in the 8th century.
The island hosts a museum entirely dedicated to this elegant material: it is the Murano Glass Museum, founded in the year 1861 and set up in the Palazzo Giustinian, once the residence of Torcello bishops. Visiting the museum you will take a walk along the most important stages of the history of glass, besides having the chance to admire some splendid examples of local production.
I was totally impressed by some magnificent Rezzonico chandeliers I saw while I was taking a stroll through the island. They are sublime masterpieces, extraordinary examples of a long-standing local tradition that the Seguso’s family is keeping alive. Please, do pay a visit to their foundry to discover the delicate beauty of the glass.
Murano – another island of Venice by Alois Staudacher
If you ask tourists what it is about the island that most intrigued them, you will get a unanimous answer: the colours. Indeed, Burano is an explosion of vivid colours that will inevitably strikes your eyes in a very pleasant way.
According to some local tales, houses were painted with bright colours so to be visible from the sea when fog was closing in. According to other rumours, it was due to boundary questions. In any case, the effect is no doubt very impressive.
Burano is well-known also for its lace work, a long-standing tradition that presumably goes back to the 15th century and is closely connected with the seafaring origin of the island’s inhabitants.
If you take a stroll through the village, you will easily spot some old ladies embroidering with their strange tools while having a chat: a true picture of local life.
Did you know that Burano has a leaning campanile? It won’t be famous like the tower of Pisa, but still it is worth seeing.
Last, but not least you must taste a typical local pastry, the so-called Bussolà Buranello.
If you need more information on Burano and its attraction take a look at this website.
Afternoon on Burano Island, Veneto by O Palsson
Almost completely uninhabited and covered with an untouched nature, Torcello is definitely the most mysterious and spiritual among the lagoon island, a reason more to visit it.
The main attractions here are the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, where some original Byzantine mosaics are still preserved, and the Church of Santa Fosca, where the skull of Saint Cecilia is resting.
If you dare, you can also cross the Devil’s bridge.
Torcello island by Godromil
Where to sleep in or around Venice
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Would you like to know where Venetians go to sunbathe and take a swim?
Then you need to go to the Lido, the long and narrow strip of sand that stretches for about 11 kilometres between the city of Venice and the Adriatic sea, right in the hearth of the lagoon.
Everybody knows it because of the Film Festival that every year from 1932 takes place there, a major event that attracts thousands of people from all over the world, both people belonging to the movie industry and fans.
Spending some days there means giving yourself the chance to relax and take a break from the frantic rhythms of everyday life. Then, you could say you have been to the beach in Venice, which is not properly correct, but then you will explain that the Venetians do consider the Lido as their own private beach.
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Lido beach in Venice by Craig Morey