A Day in Murano and Burano

They saw us coming, recognized the $$ in our eyes and wallets. The saleswoman immediately latched onto some “hot ones.” It was the island of Murano, famous for its hand-blown glass and a short boat ride from the Rialto in Venice. Our hotel arranged the ride, no charge per se, though we more than paid for it on the other end.

After a short tour of the glass making facility with the requisite glass blowers on duty to show us how authentic the place was, we were ushered into the upstairs showrooms. Most of the work gagged me, ornate, huge, garish, over-the-top chandeliers, vases, tabletop and decorative wall pieces. Ten feet into showroom #1, we were intercepted by the middle-aged saleslady whose English was exemplary and sales pitch just exactly what Americans would want, she knew all the colloquialisms.

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After sizing us up, she had some ideas. Nothing overly decorative, simple, small pieces with elegant design by a master designer. Two small vases and a plate later, I was significantly poorer though I do love the design, the intricacy, the craftsmanship that went into each piece.

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We were led to a special room to pay up because most credit card companies would balk at approving such a large sale without chatting with and verifying the cardholder. Done. Meanwhile, a boat was being arranged to forward us onto Burano, another island or two away, but still within metropolitan Venice. No charge for the boat transport, “hot ones en route” I imagine the phone conversation went from Murano to Burano. Yes, we were greeted at the dock and led to a lace shop. Burano specializes in lace. It is definitely not a West Coast look and certainly not one we wanted. All that lace reminded me of Great Aunt Matilda’s house when I was a boy in the Midwest

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Much to the chagrin of the proprietress, we begged off and wandered around the fantastically colorful isle. The old houses were amazing, painted by an open Crayola box, every imaginable color, no namby-pamby pastels either. Bold colors. Besides lace making, Burano is a commercial fishing port. There were canals where they would be streets on the mainland with narrower walkways for pedestrians to navigate.

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Quitter than Murano, there were only a couple of restaurants but they were delightful. Seafood, of course, fresh off the boat. We ate and wandered and wondered at the amazing labyrinth of brilliantly painted buildings.

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Since we were no longer “hot ones” we took a public vaporetto (water bus) back to San Marco Square.

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