Despite the bitter cold on the day of our visit to Murano one of the highlights for me was just looking at the buildings and bridges along some of the canals. The pictures here are of some of those which I saw on the stretch from vaporetto stop Murano Colonna to Ponte Vivarini which is the bridge that crosses the Canal di Murano.
Fondest memory: This canal is lined with shops selling Murano glass objects of all descriptions. Even if you have no intention of buying any it's still worth having a browse.
The Canal di Murano is Murano's answer to Venice's Grand Canal. It's a much quieter and more modest place but still very charming with many restaurants lining the pavements on either side. As we were visiting on a Saturday afternoon in February many of these were closed but I'd imagine it would have quite an atmosphere here during summer.
Fondest memory: I just love the different coloured buildings crowding around the canals here. The views from the Ponte Vivarini which crosses the Canal di Murano are excellent.
Favorite thing: If you look around you in Murano, you may be able to spot some interesting architecture and items. During my visit there in June 2007, I managed to spot this interesting water pump along the Grand Canal area of Murano.
Favorite thing: When you are at Murano, you will be able to see boats on the canal parked along the banks selling fruits, vegetables and other stuff, and the local people buying them. This is something interesting in the small islands which you may not be able to see while in Venice, probably because it is too touristy and Venice is too big.
Favorite thing: The journey from Venice to Murano on the valporetto (water bus) takes about 10-20 minutes and gives you a nice exprience of the vastness of the Venice lagoon area. Most of the valporetto will stop at the Fondamenta Nuove stop, before heading north-east across the Venice lagoon to Murano. Along the way, you will see many boats of all shapes and sizes moving along the lagoon, and you will pass by the Isola di San Michele , which is the graveyard island of Venice because the island is basically a huge cemetry. You will also notice that there are lots of guiding poles sticking out of the water, these poles are used to guide the valporetto and other boats to the various key locations on the Venice lagoon. More photos of the journey are at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Favorite thing: Murano is much more than the famous Murano glass, in fact my wife and I found the smaller islands such as Murano and Burano to be charming because they are smaller, more cosy and less touristy than Venice, which is full of tourists during the peak seasons. Here in Murano, you can see the locals going about their daily life and the canals have less traffic than in Venice. If you are coming to Murano on a free and easy trip (rather than joining the tour groups which are always on a rush), I suggest that you take time and walk around the streets on this island, some of which are quiet which is very rare if you are in Venice.
As a fan of Commissario Brunetti, I had of course the two newest books of Donna Leon with me, and decided that I want to read this one (Through a Glass Darkly) before going to Murano, as it is about a crime, plotted among the glass industry. Ha, this was a good decision, as I almost felt like walking through the book. Now for me, Donna Leon is an exceptional writer, she manages to combine mystery, Italy and Venice, plus very much adorable personalities (and not so much adorable ones with Patta) in her books. It is the details she pays attention to, and thus entwining the reader into a Venezia that is the Venezia of the Venezianos (one of the reasons why I wanted to go there).
Of course the storyline is fiction, but again Donna Leon manages to describe the surroundings that vivid and detailed that you almost know everything about glass making process when you have finished it.
Fondest memory: See the following websites for review and details at Amazon:
book review of Through a Glass Darkly
Through a Glass Darkly at Amazon:
Through a Glass Darkly at Amazon.co.uk,
Through a Glass Darkly at Amazon.com,
Durch ein dunkles Glas at Amazon.de.
The large Campo by the Locanda Conterie, with its central fountain seemed to be the hub of local life - it was illuminating to just sit here with a picnic lunch and watch the locals at work and play. These images are just a few that we tried to captured the everyday life of the Muranese.
The local Osteria here was very popular with the menfolk at lunchtime. i popped my head in and the inside was much better than the outward appearance belied and the paata dishes were some of the cheapest we saw on Murano - about 6 euros. Many locals were tucking into good platefuls here.
The architecture was as fine as anything you'd seen on Venice itself. This palazzo for example caught our eye. Its found not far from the iron bridge spanning the Canal Grande on Murano.
On our lasat visit to Murano we ventured inside this palazzo and discovered it was the police station and local community officces!
Favorite thing: Being on an island means transport is all by water for everything. Fruit and veg boats would be moored by the canlaside for locals to do their shopping. One morning we saw a church decked out with flowers for a funeral and sure enough not long later the funeral coffin was gliding down the canal.....