Venice, at its historical prime, was known for its master crafts, unparalleled arts and traditional skills passed down through masters and apprentices for generations. People sailed from near and far to trade for authentic Venetian wares. Across the waters from the crowded Piazza San Marco, time has stood still. So close, yet eons away. And you can see Venice’s two best islands – Murano and Burano – on this half-day expertly guided trip.
We begin your tour in central Venice where your small group will take a short, comfy boat ride over to the island of Murano. Your expert, local English-speaking guide will fill the time with tales of Venice’s rich history, pointing out interesting landmarks along the shoreline. Murano, once upon a time, was the home of the only glassblowers in the world who knew how to make mirrors – imagine that! In fact, their skills were so prized that they were threatened with execution if they attempted to step outside the city limits. Thankfully for us, and these skilled artisans, many things have changed since then but the craft remains the same – and this is your chance to see it in action.
Step into an authentic Venetian glassblower’s workshop and see how he goes about his daily business – of firing up, blowing and forming glass into magnificent works of art. The experience is also accompanied by expert commentary of the entire process – in English, of course. Learn how silica sand becomes glass, which gives it the color, and the most difficult (and dangerous) part of the job. This is a real deal, 100% functioning workspace – and these artisans have invited you in to share their craft. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the island on your own and peruse the Murano glass collection for truly one-of-a-kind souvenirs – we don’t take a commission, in fact, we pass our special savings on to you.
We hop once again on the boat and head toward our second island adventure, Burano. It may be a tiny island but it is huge in fame, for two reasons: 1) its colorfully huddled houses which line the narrow streets and canals, laundry swinging across from window to window, and 2) its centuries-old lace-making tradition. Your expert, local guide will usher you through the bustling streets of Burano, where you will watch local ladies stitching lace like their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers before them. Living in the age of sewing machines, you’ll learn why this is a dying art and such painstaking work.
Explore the fabulous handmade lace displays and perhaps buy a few lace masterpieces to take home, much like Michelangelo did when he once visited Burano. In fact, he purchased an altarpiece for the then “brand new” Duomo in Milan. Then enjoy some of the culinary arts around town, sampling fresh baked cookies and other delicious delicacies around town on your own before the tour commences and we head back to Venice’s mainland. There’s no experience quite like it.