Short history lesson
Though it might seem tiny (1.17 square kilometres), Murano is actually one of the largest islands in the Venetian lagoon!
Inhabited since the 7th century, the small island quickly became a prosperous harbour. But it was not until much later, in the 13th century, that the glassmakers who made Murano famous settled on the island. In 1201, the Senate of Venice signed a decree ordering Venetian glassmakers to leave the ‘Serenissima’ (the city of Venice) and settle on the nearby island of Murano.
Why? The glassmakers’ ovens were the cause of countless fires threatening the houses and buildings of the city, which were then mainly made of wood. The glassmakers were therefore forced into exile in Murano.
Their reputation shortly spread beyond the island’s borders and Murano glass became all the rage in Europe, including in Versailles.
But Murano is not solely famous for its craftsmanship. Covered with vineyards and gardens, the island was a retreat were Venetian artists and nobles came to enjoy the sweetness of life… as well as forbidden pleasures!
Murano’s casins – from which the word casino originated – were private clubs were the Venetian nobility met to engage in debauchery. Legend has it that Casanova himself seduced a nun on the island of Murano.
Getting to Murano
Located in the Venetian Lagoon, Murano is situated just a stone’s thrown from the capital of Veneto.
It is very easy to reach the island by vaporetto. If you’re planning on using public transports in Venice, you might want to consider investing in a Skip the Line Public Transport Pass (vaporetti – bus). which is very good value for money.
You can also opt for a day tour to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, which includes the boat ride as well as the services of a tour guide (available in English, German, Italian, Spanish & French). It is the perfect option if you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Venetian lagoon and its quaint islands.
Today, Murano still counts a hundred glass blowing workshops or so.
A number of these workshops are open to visitors and offer glass blowing demonstrations. The most famous of them is the Vetreria Artistica Colleoni.
If you want to be certain to be able to visit the workshop, Captain Ulysses recommends booking the tour in advance:
⚓Attention, sailors! ⚓
Looking for more tips and suggestions for your trip to Venice ? Check out the Capitain’s article on the best things to do in Venice!
Murano Glass Museum
Housed in the the Gustiniani Palace, the former residence of the bishops of Torcello, the Murano Glass Museum retraces the long history of glass blowing, and presents the techniques and know-how passed down from generation to generation over the centuries.
The museum also exhibits 4000 Murano glass articles: chalices, cups, vases, or chandeliers dating back hundreds of years.
FYI, admission to the Murano Glass Museum is included in the Museum Pass.
With its quaint channels and colourful houses, Murano is a great place to leisurely wander and relax.
Here, the same goes as in Venice: Captain Ulysses suggests that you simply put away your map/GPS and get lost in the island’s romantic and charming alleyways (Murano is quite small so you’re not taking any risk!)
Palazzo da Mula
With its typical Gothic architecture, the Palazzo da Mula is one of the most beautiful palaces in Murano.
Today, it has been converted into offices, but the ground floor is reserved for cultural events. The original interior decoration has unfortunately not been preserved which is why Captain Ulysses recommends that you simply admire the palace from the outside.
The churches of Murano
The island of Murano counts three churches which are worth a visit: the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the Basilica of Santi Maria e Donato and the Church San Pietro Martire, whose origins respectively date back to the 12th, 7th 14th centuries.
Located on the southern part of the island, the Lighthouse is a 35 meter-high black and white tower which was built in 1932. It is still in operation today. While it’s not a ‘must-see’, it does deserve a quick detour if you have time.
Want more tips and suggestions to help you plan your trip to Venice? Check out the Captain’s articles:
- The Doge’s Palace
- St. Mark’s Basilica
- The Grand Canal
- The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
- The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute
- The Gallerie dell’Accademia
- The Venetian Arsenal
- The Rialto Bridge
- The Bridge of Sighs
Venice is a very touristy city and you’ll have plenty hotels to choose from, but, be warned: they are overall rather expensive. If your budget is tight, Captain Ulysses suggests staying in Mestre, just outside of Venice, where hotels are much more affordable and you’ll find regular buses to Venice. Find out more here. For intermediate budgets, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Hotel Le Isole: ideally located a few steps from St. Mark’s Square, this beautiful hotel boasts spacious and elegant rooms. And if you’re looking for a more luxurious option in Venice, then Captain Ulysses most definitely recommends the Londra Palace nestled in a Venetian palace on the Riva degli Schiavoni.
Tickets, guided tours, gondola tours, day-trips… There are plenty of things to do in Venice. But the city is often packed with tourists, which is why Captain Ulysses recommend that you book your activities online and opt for skip-the-line tickets. The Captain suggests having a look at Musement and Tiqets, which are online platforms specialised in selling tourist activities worldwide.
Venice is synonymous gondola and vaporetto. As an accomplished sailor, Captain Ulysses can only recommend that you embark on a boat ride on the Venetian canals. But beware of cams: some gondoliers tend to take advantage of tourists! That’s why the Captain advises that you book your boat tour on a reputable website like here or here.
If you’re planning on visiting all of Venice’s top sights, Captain Ulysses recommends you to opt for a Citypass,which will give you access to a selection of the city’s must-see sights and monuments. There’s a variety of citypasses to choose from. Find out more here.
To get to Venice from the airport, you’ll have four poptions: the bus, the vaporetto (orange Alilaguna Arancio line), the taxi or the water taxi. It’s up to you to choose the option that works best for you! 🙂 Be aware, however, that the historic centre is pedestrian, and buses and taxis are not allowed to operate there.
Get ready to walk. The historic centre is not accessible to buses or cars. The local type of public transport is the vaporetto: boats travelling on the water. If you’re planning on using the vaporetto regularly (in Venice or to visit the surrounding islands like Murano and Burano), or if you are staying in Mestre and have to take the bus to Venice everyday, you might want to consider opting for a Public Transport Pass. You can book it here.
Venice is a city easily accessible by plane, train and bus. To book your plane tickets, Captain Ulysses recommends Skyscanner, which allows you to compare countless flights to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible. Overnight trains are also a great way to save time (and money) ! For more information, visit Trainline.com.
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