Walking on the Fondamenta Nuove, you can already see Murano lying across the water; a 10 minute boat ride will take you to the first stop on the island. It is recommendable, though, to continue until the boat actually enters the Canal Grande of Murano. If you arrive early enough, you will not meet many people while exploring this group of islands. Enter the living quarters behind the Canal Grande and you will only hear your own footsteps echoing on the walls around you. Gardens, a sportsfield, a green cemetery, new apartment blocks in Venetian style, and treelined lanes are all defining the quiet character of this part of Murano.
Even when you come back to the Canal Grande, the difference with Venice's Canal Grande is striking: much less visitors, much more local atmosphere. Picturesque little canals branch off this wide one, which actually only has one bridge to connect the two sides. On a side canal, you will find the glass museum as well as the lovely Santa Maria e San Donato church, on a little square right on the Canale di San Donato. It is said that the foundations of the church date back to the 7th century, and the bell tower, which stands separately from the church, from the 12th century. While its exterior is a beautiful, wide and not imposing church, with a portico with arches and columns, the interior has a marvelously laid out mosaic floor.
I happened to stumble on a poster announcing a boat race in the Canal Grande, so I made sure to be there on time. Young boatboys and girls were already racing the canal, after which bigger boats with boatsmen dressed up in colourful uniforms showed up. A brightly coloured red gondola was officially inaugurated and then the boats lined up and went through the Fondamenta dei Vetri to the laguna. This is actually the main glass production and sellers area - glass production was moved here from Venice in the 13th century because it was considered too risky. Ever since, Murano has specialized in becoming a glass production area; apart from the evident shops and kilns, evidence can be found in details like a colourful glass Madonna on a street corner or a glass blower in glass on a grave in the cemetery.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Murano (Italy). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Murano. Read more about this site.