Venice has 177 islands spread along the lagoon.

For this reason, a stroll through La Serenissima must include lovely boat cruises that visit some of the region’s islands. Do not confine yourself to the main island.

The most popular, and those that I will talk about, are the islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello. A super easy way to move between them is to use the vaporetto. This transportation works rather well and serves the aforementioned islands.

Not only the islands are great but the vaporetto cruise itself is really worth it.

Burano

The island of Burano is delightful. Its houses have vibrantly colored facades, which gives this place an enormous feeling of joy.

Since the 16th century, the house owners must have the government’s permission to paint the house. The government is the body which decides what color should be used to paint each house. The island is also famous for its lace. This art is centuries old. A visit to this island should encompass a trip to the Lace School of Burano, founded in 1872. This is the place where the art of lace making is taught and the museum is part of it since 1981.

In this place, it is possible to know the history of Burano lace and watch this age-old tradition being carried out in person.

In this island, there is also another important detail. It is the San Martino Vescovo church, which has a leaning bell tower. Those who arrive by boat recognize the island right away.

 Murano

Murano is an archipelago that comprises 7 islands. It is the closest to Venice and the second largest island. It is globally known due to its glass, which is this island’s main business activity. The glass was already worked in the year 1000. To shape and work the glass, this needs to be subjected to high temperatures. A fire would have disastrous consequences, since the construction of the island of Venice is almost entirely made of wood.

Thus, in 1291, all those who worked the glass had to move from Venice to Murano. And nowadays they are still concentrated on this particular island.

The popularity of Murano spread throughout European and those who worked with glass were not authorized to leave the Republic. There was a fear of having the secrets of glass working shared with others…

Magnificent craftsmen are still located in Murano nowadays. I recommend visiting a glass factory to get familiar with the process of artisan manufacture. The Museo del Vetro is also interesting, Museum of Glass in English.

To get know the island a little bit better you can also visit the Santa Maria and San Donato churches.

Torcello

This Island is quite calm, being known by some as the “forgotten island”.

It was already inhabited in the 5th century, being one of very first to be occupied in the Venetian Lagoon.

It was also one the first places to which the inhabitants of cities charred and looted by the barbarians flew to seek refuge (check the history of Venice here). Many years later, the Bishop of Altino moved to Torcello, with this becoming his official residence. For quite some time, its inhabitants made a living of salt exploitation.

Perhaps it is not as appealing as Murano or Burano, but it is extremely interesting to visit. You should go to Piazzetta and see Attila’s throne, the Church of Santa Fosca and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. The latter is one of the oldest in Italy.