Today we went out to Burano, the lovely island home of lace and painted houses. We had been there before in pouring rain so the place was deserted and many of the shops were closed. Today could not have been more different. The vaporetto was packed and by the time we arrived the island was heaving with people. All the shops had their stalls out.
We walked around the waterline, avoiding the centre as much as possible and wandering through tiny alleyways with washing strung between buildings. We discovered the local supermarket which was a maze of small rooms full of goods. We purchased some gluten free snacks and again walked away from the main tidal wave of tourists. Here you see the true beauty of Burano, a glimpse into gardens or through windows, neighbours sitting outside in the sun having a chat.
We sat on the shoreline looking at the leaning campanile (it seems there is a leaning tower everywhere in the lagoon), the lagoon traffic and the silhouette of the distant Venice and St Marks. In a back alley we found an artist who specialised in glass jewellery with gold leaf. She welcomed us and showed her talent as she etched out delicate patterns from the gold leaf through to the glass below. As the Navagatrix works in glass herself she was fascinated and a lovely delicately carved pendant was purchased. Although there are many shops selling glass in Venice unfortunately some are made in China. This infuraites the many local talented glass producers and artists whose skills have been passed down from generations of glass makers.
We then caught the vaporetto to the Torcello. This is contrast had few passengers on board. Torcello only has twelve full time residents and is a jewel. Olives and grapes grow surrounded by lower tidal areas full of water birds. We took ourselves off the main path of the canal and over the Ponte Diavolo (Devil's Bridge) and walked through the fields. We crept past the two farmhouses and found our way into the back of the church - a magnificent stone domed building which dominated the island.
We purchased a lovely watercolour from a local artist painting under the shade of a large olive. Lunch was outside - fish risotto, garden fresh salad and cold beer for less than 20 euro.
Intending to go back to Muruno, in our haste to catch the vaporetto we misheard the destination, instead ending up taking a very scenic route via ..... and the Lido back to St Marks. We had not previously taken this route, so we got a fresh insight into the lagoon including the new massive flood gates and walls to prevent the high water consuming much of Venice.
Now back in Venice we took the vaporetto down the Canal Grande past the glorious palazzos. We jumped off when we spotted a tragheto. These are gondeliers used mainly by locals to cross from one side of the Canal Grande to the other. For the grand total of 70 centimes for the two of us you get the Gondola experience less the 90 odd euro. The tourist gondolas are almost like a Disney ride now - they are a conveyor belt of traffic all travelling the same route. The gondola does give a completly different perspective of the canal from water level. We admired the Gondeliers skills to navigate the traffic from one side to the other. He even had his dog tucked up sound asleep at his feet. Back into the alleyways, we wound our way down towards the busy Rialto and our favourite pizza place, Antica Forno.
By the time you arrive at Rialto the crush of people almost leads you in one direction only. We navigated our way out of the throng and purchased melt-in-your-mouth hazelnut meringues. We criss-crossed through the middle of the island back to Fundamentata Nova for a quick ten minute Vaperetto trip back to Murano.
As this was our last night, we debated going back into Venice as one of our favourite things to do is ride the Canal Grande at night where you can see through windows into the palazzos with the frescoed ceilings and shiny chandeliers. However the lure of having Murano to ourselves was too strong.
We again walked and watched as residents started to prepare for their Festa which would miss by one day. Twenty or so people heaved and shoved what looked like a marque into the park behind the church. Wood in neat stacks awaited to fire up the feast. We sat outside in a courtyard and watched the passing greetings of neighbours and had fresh lagoon fish and pasta.
After dinner we wandered again as the sun set. Locals came out with fishing rods and nets to set on the lagoon. We had one last Aperol spritz by the side of the canal.