Friday, October 12, 2012

Murano & Burano: The Islands of Venice


We spent our second day in Venice touring the islands.  We caught one of the ferries first to Murano famous for its glass.  As soon as we stepped off the boat the glass shops began.  They lined both sides of the waterway and continued throughout the island.  We decided after shopping in three or four of the shops that all of the pieces started looking a like.  Plus, how would we get one of these chandeliers home in are already overstuffed luggage?





We did find a Christmas ornament we liked and went into the shop to buy it.  The very proud owner had signs posted around his shop warning tourists to protect the Murano name by not buying fake glass.  Because of the ferver he had, we are confident our ornament is 100% authentic Murano glass.  We asked the shop keeper if it was worth taking a glass making tour.  He said there really weren't any tours, but that the big glass stores showed you around their shop and then up-charged you when you went to purchase.  We opted against going to any of the big stores for that very reason.




We spent about an hour strolling around the island, which had public glass art displayed in several squares.  They were nice surprises as we found them on island walk.  It reminded us of stumbling upon some Dale Chihuly pieces around Seattle (he learned his craft at Venini glass factory in Venice as a side note).





We got lucky and saw a glass maker at work in his factory.  They had the workshop doors open for fresh air so a group of tourists gathered around to watch and take pictures.  

This capped off our tour of Murano & the beautiful glass works.  We headed next to the ferry dock where we found free WIFI and tried to catch up on news from home until our ferry to Burano arrived.

Fancy restaurant--would have been cool to eat up on the deck
The journey between islands reminded us of the San Juan Islands, but we are half a world away from those islands.  

As soon as we stepped off the ferry upon arriving in Burano we were excited to explore the cute little island famous for lace making.  But, our first order of business was finding someplace for lunch.  We passed by what looked to be an expensive tourist restaurant and went to a less expensive one that seemed to have more locals eating at it.  Come to find out the inside was packed full of a tour group.

Platter of grilled mixed local fish


We saw a guy next to us with a mixed seafood platter so we ordered that.  The fish came whole, eyeballs and all and we got a carafe (yes jug) of the house wine to wash it down with.  Turns out the whole fish was sea bass and it was amazing.  Ro was tempted to eat the tail (don't worry this was just for a good story).  While waiting for our lunch to arrive we witnessed a wedding party doing photos on one of the bridges.  The island would be a beautiful place to get married as it's a photographer's paradise.
 
Each of the homes is brightly colored.  Islanders can't just paint their home any color.  If they wish to paint their house, they must first make a request to the government.  They are then told what colors are permitted for that particular lot. It seems crazy, but the kaleidoscope of colors is pretty impressive.  

There are a few other stories about where the colors originate from.  One is that the colors are based upon the family's last name (similar to a Scottish Tartan).  The second theory is that there are no house numbers and the colors of the homes are for the postman's sanity.  The third story is that fisherman from the island wanted to be able to identify their homes from the sea while fishing so they painted them original colors.  We don't know the exact truth to what originally started this paint by number trend, but here are a few of our favorites.






Live life with color, flavor and fun!