Climb aboard a boat and head out into the beautiful Venetian Lagoon on a trip to Venice's most enchanting islands: Murano, Burano, and Torcello.
As you head towards Murano, you will pass the Island of St. George. In ancient times, it was called the Island of Cypresses for the Cypress Trees that grew there. From your boat you will see part of the ancient Arsenal building from whose yards the powerful Venetian war fleet and merchant navy went out to sea, securing the wealth and greatness of the city for centuries. At its peak, it employed over 16,000 workers.
Next you will arrive in enchanting Murano. Murano is the most famous of the Venetian Islands, originally settled by the Romans and then later in the sixth century by people from Altinum and Oderzo. At first, the island prospered as a fishing port and through production of salt. In 1291, all the glassmakers in Venice moved to Murano due to the risk of fires. In the following centuries Murano became the main producer of high quality glass in Europe. Murano's reputation as a producer of glass continued for centuries. Today, Murano glass is perhaps the most highly regarded in the world, and you will have the pleasure of visiting a glass factory. You will enjoy a private glass blowing demonstration and have free time to purchase glass.
Departing Murano, you will next visit beautiful Burano, the most picturesque of Venetian Islands of the Lagoon. Famous for its lace-making industry, the pretty fishing village has its streets and canals lined by pastel colored houses. Burano rose to importance in the 16th century, when women on the island began making lace with needles, being introduced to such a trade via Venetian-ruled Cyprus. When Leonardo da Vinci visited in 1481, he visited the small town of Lefkara and purchased a cloth for the main altar of the Duomo di Milano. The lace was soon exported across Europe, a practice that continues to this day.
Next you will visit Torcello. After the downfall of the Roman Empire, Torcello was one of the first lagoon islands to be successively populated by those Venetians who fled the mainland to take shelter from the recurring barbarian invasions, especially after Attila the Hun had destroyed the city of Altinum and all of the surrounding settlements in 452. Torcello rapidly grew in importance as a political and trading center. In the 10th century it had a population of at least 10,000 people and was much more powerful than Venice. Today, Torcello is a quaint, sparsely populated island in stark contract to the hustle and bustle of Venice. Torcello boasts a population of only 60 people. The island is also home to the Venetian-Byzantine Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta founded in the 7th Century. Santa Maria Assunta was Venice 's first cathedral. Admission to the sites is not included on this tour so you can plan your day to your likes.
Departing Torcello, you will return to the boat pier near St. Mark's.
Please Note: The boats used on this tour can accommodate up to 200 passengers. Tour group sizes may vary. There will be a hostess on board the boat, however, hostess is not a tour guide. Information given in Italian, German, French, Spanish and English. This is a quick island overview and time on each island is approximately 35 minutes depending on crowds. There will be opportunities to purchase glass and lace at the different stops.
This tour begins and ends at the St. Mark's Square area. Depending on your ship's docking location, a vaporetto, water shuttle, or walk may be required. Transportation between your ship and St. Mark's Square is not included in the tour price.
Reviewer: Yvonne Palit
The downside was we had a very long wait in Venice once the cruise transfer dropped us off. There is quite a distance between each island with a few interesting views en route. Murano with glass blowing was really interesting with a demonstration first and then we could make purchases from the on site shop at very reasonable prices. Torcello no comment as I sat this one out. Burano very pretty island. Lace was good but expensive. Visited a wonderful shop selling gourmet foods and fabulous Italian ice cream. All very enjoyable but tiring day as we had quite a wait for the cruise ferry to pick us up to return us to the ship.
Reviewer: Lorraine Victor
Tour departed on time from the location near St. Marks square with a fast walk to the boat. Glass blowing demonstration in Murano and time to browse the shop for gifts then directly on to Burano with its picturesque and colorful buildings and wonderful lace shops. Adequate time to walk about, shop and grab a bite to eat. Next stop Torcello, walking on your own along the canal to the church and a few shops. There are a few restaurants and hotels on the island, but the church seems to be the biggest attraction. Nice to get out of the crowds here and enjoy the scenery.
Reviewer: Roberta Krumper
We enjoyed these enchanted Isles very much The boat ride was great. We had a lot of fun
Reviewer: Irene Maurice
Murano was great, we never did make it to the church in Torcello as it was quite a distance and for us, the time spent in Burano was a little long but perhaps others liked the shopping time. A bottle of water would have been a nice touch, especially since it was very hot.
Reviewer: Terri DeVries
It was a very fun excursion with the exception of I thought we would see more than just the glass factory while on that island. We went in the door off the boat and back out and on to the boat. It was total marketing we did not see even one minute of the island. I knew we were going to a glass factory but did not know that was all we would see of that island. The other two islands were fun to see.