Thursday, September 29, 2011

Marvelous Murano and Beautiful Burano!

We were out the door and at the vaporetto stop promptly at 8;30 this morning, on our way to Murano.  It was another sunny and warm day here in Italy, a great day for a boat ride and exploring two very interesting small islands.

The ride to Murano was about 45 minutes, and we got there early enough that many shops and showrooms weren't open yet.  Our first impression of Murano was that it was very pretty, but not quite as ornate and "fancy" as Venice.  It was also much less crowded!

We stopped at a nice cafe and had an espresso and a cup of fresh fruit for breakfast.  As we walked around waiting for shops to open, we found several fun glass sculptures in public spaces:

Finally the shops and showrooms were open, so we walked up and down the main canals, popping into a shop or show room if something caught our eye.  And there was plenty of eye candy!  There was also plenty of cheap, imported junk, but I had expected that, and just ignored it.  We found that when we went into a showroom to admire some beautiful work, the sales people were very pushy.  We ignored them, too!  I did find some great hollow glass beads and bought enough to make a necklace.  I was also on the hunt for glass insects, as I have been fascinated with them for many years.  We found a wide variety of insects, prices and also a wide variety of skill levels!  Some of the insects were as much as 150 Euros each!!  But I was determined to find "my bugs" made by a local artist.  We finally found a small shop way in the back of a building--and it was full of beautiful bugs!  The artist was hard at work making beetles when we walked in.  I ended up buying quite a menagerie--a beetle, a scorpion, a beautiful spider, a fly and 3 tiny ants!!  I think they will march across my kitchen window sill at home.  I can't post pics of my bugs, as they are each carefully packed away in their own box for the trip home.  But here is a pic of the artist at work, and a pic of some of his other bugs:

After all that bug shopping, we were ready for lunch!  We stopped at a nice canal side cafe, looked at the menu and made our choices in no time.  David had a pizza, which he really enjoyed:

And I had spaghetti con sieppe.  That's squid ink! I've been wanting to try it, and it's a Venetian specialty--so today was the day!  Here's my big plate of yummy squid ink pasta:
It was delicious!  It had nice, tender melt in your mouth chunks of squid, and lots of inky black sauce.  David took one bite--and that was enough for him.   But I liked it, and ate almost the whole plate.
I did think of my dear, dear friend Brenda, and just how much she would love this dish!     ;=}

After that very yummy lunch (even though David said he just might not ever kiss me again!!), it was time to visit the Glass Museum.  It's in a lovely old building, and while it doesn't have a large collection,  it is fascinating.  There are examples of the earliest glass work--from the 1st and 2nd century.  Very interesting to look at.  No photos allowed, however.  We looked at the upstairs exhibit--some strange contemporary installation that we didn't understand.  But photos were allowed in that room, and the Venetian glass chandelier and the painted ceiling were beautiful:

It was now mid afternoon, and after almost 6 fun hours in Murano, it was time to leave.  It has been my dream for many years to visit Murano, and I wasn't disappointed, it's a wonderful place!  I would have really enjoyed getting "behind the scenes" more, especially seeing the making of the glass itself, but sadly that's just not possible.  I am thrilled with my bugs, and especially that I could meet the artist.

It was time for the next boat to Burano, and it's a short ride.  Burano is an even smaller island than Murano, but no less charming.  It has it's own historical specialty, lace.  As in Murano, much of what is sold now is not even made in Burano, but imported.  We did see some beautiful lace, though.

The real charm of Burano is it's colorful buildings--just like a rainbow!  Each house is painted a different color from it's neighbor:

Burano even has it's own leaning tower.  And no, David is not tilting the camera--the bell tower really does lean this much! (compare it to the side of the green building!)
We spent about 2 hours exploring Burano, having a delicious gelato, popping into an old church, and doing a bit of window shopping.  It's a pretty place, very serene and authentic.  I could really get a sense of every day life here, with little children playing in the piazzas, friends calling to each other, and especially these two sweet old ladies having a nice chat in the square:

It had been a long and wonderful day wandering around these two islands.  The boat to Venice was at the pier, so we made our way aboard and found a couple of great upper deck, open air seats.
It was a beautiful ride back to Venice as the sun was setting on another great day in Italy:


  1. Hi Di and Dave - I'll try posting again; not sure if you are getting my posts as they don't show up on my computer here in Orofino. I've been able to read all of your posts - what a wonderful adventure you two are having. Again, I'm super envious. I've been reading your posts to my friend, Evie, and she wants to read more of your postings as she really likes your writing. I love the ceiling pictures of the Galleries Viviennes (what is it with me and ceilings?). And the Murano bugs - maybe that Praying Mantis could jump down into your pocket and follow you back to Pat's place...... :) Squid ink pasta...... Not! But I'd love to indulge with Dinkel and Dunkel - sounds like a Vaudeville act, don't ya think? I can hardly wait to see all of your pictures and hear more about your trip. Have a yummy Gelato for me and have a glorious time. See you soon. Pat

  2. name was in the squid way...I feel so loved...LOL I squealed when I saw that dish of pasta all black and.....under my breath I muttered...oh my goodness and then smiled when I saw my name in the ink. Thanks for making my day! David's pizza looked yummy. But the glass bugs are cool and I like them. Marvelous Murano and Beautiful Burano--what a great way to start the dialogue. The skies are blue and the flower boxes hanging from the windows are a favorite of mine. Gelato is still sounding delicious and David's beer with his pizza...a winner. The canals and boats and shops are so interesting. The sunset picture at the end is so fitting for a spectacular day touring two wonderful islands. But the squid gives me the shivers and I am afraid I will have dreams a big noodle calling out to me...come now Brenda, eat your pasta!
    Loving your blog...Brenda

  3. This has to be my favorite day trip so far...everything about the day and your posting makes me smile :) The canals and colorful buildings = "now I could live like that." I am so happy that you are actually doing this...and glad you didnt find a cast iron bug for DavOd to carry home...And your pasta doesn't look or sound very appetizing-so I am glad it is Brenda's name & not mine causing the shivers... Like the name Fritto Misto!

  4. don't know what happened but my comment posted to yesterday rather than to today.

    Your comments and pictures of daily adventures continue to be very entertaining and wonderful.

    Enjoy an espresso or two for me---oh and be sure to add a yummy dessert. We love you guys.