After seeing a ton of Murano glass in the shops in Venice as well as in the palaces and buildings, I decided that taking a day trip to the islands of the lagoon – Murano and Burano – would be a good idea. I had to buy a water taxi pass for the day and so I ended up on an overcrowded boat for the 45 minutes it took to get to Murano. Once I arrived in Murano, I wandered along the stores and glass blowing studios. I didn’t pay to see a glass blowing demonstration; instead I just peeked into the studios and shops that had craftsmen working in the open. It was cool to see them working with the glass to create the desired shape and blowing into the hot glass to form ornaments and vases. Next I visited the Glass Museum, where the history of Murano was told as well as examples of Murano glass from the last few hundred years. In the sixteenth century, all of the glass workers from Venice were forced to move out to Murano due to fire concerns, and now these craftspeople are recognized as some of the most famous glass workers in the world and Murano glass is known to be of a high standard. The island was nice, but nothing too impressive. Unless you are really interested in seeing more of the glass, you can get a good enough sense of the craft in Venice.
I got onto another water bus from Murano’s life-house which took me to Burano, about a 25 minute ride. Of the two, I liked Burano much more. Due to the farther distance and less fame, there were much fewer tourists on Burano. Burano is also much smaller and compact. On Burano, they make high quality lace. There are seven kinds of knots needed for Burano lace patterns so seven different women must work on every piece. I got to see several old women patiently working on detailed lace patterns, I was impressed by their skill and also by how long it takes to produce the lace! On Burano, I visited the Lace Museum and saw examples of the evolution of the Burano school of lace making.
What I liked the most about Burano was the really brightly colored houses on the island in neon yellows, pinks, oranges, blues, greens, and more. It made the place seem so cheerful and happy and I really liked that. I got back on a water bus to get back into Venice, the whole journey took over an hour and I had to transfer lines once in order to get back to my hotel. Once back in my hotel I showered then met up with my new friend Alex who I’d met in Florence. We went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant overlooking one of the main roads in Venice which was great for people watching. Then we met up with other people from her program at Georgia Tech at a bar to watch the second half of the Germany versus Italy Euro Cup game. The Italians went crazy again when Italy made it through that round and on to the finals! It was fun to be in Italy for 2 very exciting games!