Private water taxi cruising in the Northern Lagoon
Murano: visit to a glass blowing furnace & showrooms
Stroll in Burano Visit to a lacemaking atelier (on request)
Navigation along the Grand Canal (on request, adding an extra hour)
CRUISING THE VENETIAN LAGOON: MURANO & BURANO
CRUISING THE VENETIAN LAGOON – Of all the islands of the Venetian Lagoon, Murano and Burano are certainly two of the most internationally famous.
A visit to the two of them will complete your first approach to Venetian civilization.
Exploring the Northern Lagoon itself will be of great interest and relaxing at the same time.
This tour is perfect for families with kids as well, as both the boat rides and the visit to the artisans in both islands will be fun and educational at the same time.
Our private water taxi will pick us up directly at the hotel water door or from the nearest landing stage. At the beginning of our ‘Cruising the Venetian Lagoon’ we’ll navigate some minor canals on our way to the North Lagoon. We’ll pass by a beautiful green island, San Michele, once a Franciscan Monastery, today Venice’s main cemetery.
Your guide will tell you about Igor Stravinsky, Ezra Pound, Iosif Brodskiy and other famous people buried here.
In few minutes we’ll approach Murano. Before we disembark you’ll be told why and when Murano became one the most important centers of artistic glass production in the world and what’s the actual situation of this art after 800 years.
We’ll be greeted by the people working at one of the best glass factories and visit the glass furnace first of all.
It will be probably hot inside (very hot in the summer!) but they will offer us some water or soft drinks to keep us cool.
From Mondays through Fridays we’ll be able to see the actual glass production in Murano. If we are visiting during the weekend (or during August, when the main furnaces are not in activity) they will be happy to give us two demonstrations, exemplifying the two fundamental techniques, glass blowing and massive glass sculpture shaping.
After that we’ll have the opportunity to visit the showrooms, that will give us a better idea of the huge variety of techniques and styles.
While the techniques are fundamentally unchanged since the early days (or, in some cases, since Ancient Roman times), there’s no limit to creativity, and you’ll be surprised by the incredible variety of objects, shapes and colors.
Some pieces are signed by famous artists, others were created by young promising masters.
Besides the glasses, goblets, vases, sculptures, ladies will also find a great choice of glass beads and jewels.
Leaving Murano to reach Burano, navigation continues in the calm waters of the Lagoon for about 25 minutes.
On our right we’ll enjoy the view of the long, verdant islands of Vignole and Sant’ Erasmo, this second famous for its baby artichokes, broccoli and other vegetables.
Your guide will tell you about the historic and naturalistic importance of the Lagoon and will mention some of the other islands, stressing the accent on how
their function changed with the passing of the centuries.
Before we reach Burano, easy to spot form far because of its badly leaning tower, we’ll pass by the quiet and beautiful island of Mazzorbo, where white wine has recently been produced.
Finally, ‘Cruising the Venetian Lagoon’ arrives to Burano – for many visitors the most attractive island of the entire Lagoon.
It is known for the incredible colorsof its homes, for its traditional fishing boats, excellent seafood restaurants and delicious cookies. But above all Burano has been known since the 17th century for the perfect intricacy and elegance of its lace production, coveted and imitated all over Europe.
Once the lace makers on the island were employed (and exploited) by wealthy Venetian merchants, today they hold the business in their hands. Notwithstanding the population of the island is shrinking and lace is not as popular today as it was in the previous centuries, there are still a few tens of women at work with needle and thread.
We’ll stop to admire their skills and listen to their proud presentation.
Besides viewing lace-making it is worth to take a stroll on the island, which is colorful, tidy, intimate. It is not by chance that at the beginning of the 20th century it was chosen by a group of Italian painters (including Pio Semeghini and Umberto Moggioli) as a spiritual center and a source of inspiration for their landscape paintings. Today you will see photographers at every corner. It is really a paradise for the eye!
On the way back to Venice we’ll see other areas of the Lagoon and you’ll be given more information about its safeguard and future perspectives.
It is also possible to combine it with a tour along the Grand Canal by adding one additional hour (for a total of five hours).
This tour operates all year as our boats are covered.
The Lagoon of Venice has an extension of approximately 550 square kilometers (212 square miles).
Only 8% of its surface is occupied by land, considering downtown Venice itself and approximately forty minor islands.
About 11% is perennially covered by water, its waterways called canals or “rii”.
About 80%of its surface consists of mud flats, tidal shallows and salt marshes.
The Lagoon is connected to the Adriatic Sea by three inlets.
The islands of the Lagoon are subject to frequent floods, especially in October and November. At this moment, (2017), an elaborate system of movable gates – known with the name of MOSE = Electro Mechanic Modular System – is under construction to protect the entire area from recurrent exceptional high tides.
The project has suffered long delays caused by technical difficulties and some legal problems. We still don’t know when exactly it will be finished and whether it will really save Venice from the floods.
Venice and its Lagoon were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987. Now UNESCO has expressed some very serious perplexities about how mass tourism is being dealt with by the Italian authorities, threatening to erase Venice from the list of World Heritage Sites. Then situation is (end of 2017) still uncertain.
The cultural heritage of the Lagoon islands is rich and varied: many of them were monastic centers, while a few were used as places of quarantine for people, ships and goods during the epidemics.
They were also used to isolate industries with high-risk or polluting activities, like glass making or leather tanning.
Other islands were used until recently as mental hospitals or military bases.
The trend today is that of transforming the most beautiful and accessible islands into hotels and resorts. There has been a reaction to the excessive commercialization of the territory and architectural patrimony. The island of Poveglia, for instance, is for sale. A local association of citizens is striving to buy it with the intent of using it for social purposes.
If your time is limited, instead of booking our ‘Cruising the Venetian Lagoon’ you might like our Venice Grand Tour.
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