Island Hopping: Murano and Burano
We've all seen the pictures on Instagram and Pinterest. Ones featuring picturesque landscapes that are so brilliantly colorful and eye-catching it doesn't even look real. Welcome to the islands of Murano and Burano. Even if it is your first time in Venice, you would be remiss not to plan an island hopping excursion.
Located in the Venetian Lagoon, Murano is not one but a series of seven islands linked by bridges. Murano is quite famous for glass making which is one of the main reasons we were drawn to the area. Our hotel, Hotel Palazzo Vitturi (which I highly recommend), arranged a tour for us to take a water taxi (yes! Living my best Clooney-esque life) and visit one of the prominent glass blowers in the area, Marco Polo Fornace. As soon as we stepped off the water taxi, we were ushered into the workshop and had the opportunity to observe several men molding molten glass into incredible works of art. Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to spend more than ten to fifteen minutes in the area because the glassblowers began to bicker (loudly, might I add) with one another and we were quickly escorted out of the studio and into the shop.
I gingerly made my way through the store admiring the rainbow of vivid colors and intricate/delicate glass creations. From simple wine glasses to ornate chandeliers, there was truly anything your heart desired. However, be prepared to pay a premium for this high level of craftsmanship. I spied a marvelous pair of wine glasses that were simple yet elegant. Thinking that I would get them as a memento of the trip, I decided to forgo that purchase when I saw the 120€ price tag that went along with EACH glass. #notforthefaintofheart
If you choose to visit Murano and don't have a glass factory tour scheduled, never fear. As we meandered around the islands, we noticed several different glassblowers who opened up their shop to the public, for a small fee of course. Tariffs ranged from 5€-10€ and guests are encouraged to stay as long as they'd like.
For all my glass enthusiasts, I recommend Museo del Vetro, which is the Murano Glass Museum. Wander and admire until your heart is content.
Working up quite the appetite wandering through the glass workshops and exploring the islands, we hopped on a vaporetto and off we went to Burano. Approaching our stop, I was awestruck with the sight before me. I could immediately feel my soul begin to smile as I stepped off the boat. There was something so uplifting about the brilliantly colored buildings. I would venture to say that this colorful island could compete for one of the happiest places on earth. Hands down.
Knowing that I would have some additional time to snap photos and wander about, we set out for Trattoria al Gatto Nero. Originally established in 1946, Trattoria al Gatto Nero is not only one of the oldest restaurants on the island, but they have fed everyone from your basic Burano resident to the likes of Phillipe Stark and Jamie Oliver. In fact, this is one of Jamie Oliver's favorite restaurants. Known for serving the freshest seafood, literally, it was caught that morning, Trattoria al Gatto Nero serves some amazing Italian cuisine. Guests will find that the restaurant is small but charming, however, weather permitting opt for canal-side seating. There's nothing better than sipping on a glass of wine and admiring the radiant colors of this darling island.
Trattoria al Gatto Nero
You may recall from my Venice post (last seen here) that many of the restaurants require a minimum order. Luckily, our server was an absolute gem and understood how badly I wanted to try the pasta of the day. Not sure if it was my sweet southern draw or the fact that I was being quite persistent, but he stepped away and a came back a few moments later advising that he took care of it (wink wink). Sipping on the local wine, I lost track of time basking in the sunshine and soaking up as much of the gorgeous scenery as possible. Before I knew it, our lunch was served.
Wouldn't you have been persistent for this dish? Um, no brainer if you ask me. Not only was this pasta filled with fresh tomatoes and crab, but it was tossed in the most exquisite white wine sauce. I must confess, no noodle was left behind.
Pouring the last few drops of wine into our glasses, I wasn't ready to leave. I felt as if I was exactly where I needed to be. Have you ever fallen in love with a city and didn't want to leave?
Can't-Miss: Anything with seafood. You can't find it fresher than what it is here. I recommend ordering a local wine, not only is the price point reasonable but you will find interesting grapes and flavors that are unavailable elsewhere. Our server was incredibly pleasant and was more than willing to provide guidance to ensure we had the best experience possible. Keep in mind, the Italians are in no hurry, so if it's a speedy lunch you are looking for, this may not be your best option.
Potential Pass: I can't even. Not applicable.
What Italian meal would be complete without a stop by the local gelateria? After sampling a few of the local favorites, I had to go with my favorite, Salted Caramel. The ribbons of caramel woven throughout were simply ambrosial.
Reflecting on such a lovely meal, I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around admiring the colorful buildings. Curious as to how the island of Burano became one of the most colorful islands in the world?
Burano is an old fishing village with fishing traditions dating back to the Romans. The fishermen would return home from a long journey and quite often were unable to decipher their house through the fog. In order to remedy that situation, families would paint their homes bright colors that aligned with a specified pattern. Even now, if a family wishes to paint their house, they must submit a formal request to the government. Can you even imagine?
Below you will find just a few of the vibrant photos I captured. I hope that these make your soul smile just as it did mine.
Until next time!