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The Venice lagoon and its islands: Jewels for the taking
The Venice lagoon and its islands Murano - Burano - Torcello: Jewels for the taking
Among the city treasures there's one you should be keen on seeking out: Venice Lagoon with its historical, naturalistic and also human heritage is indeed a precious jewel. It is like a mother, a primordial element that over the centuries has given birth to Venice, pretected it (from the elements of the Sea, from the Barbarian and Turkish invasion, ect.) and ultimately made it so very unique in its configuration.
Needless to say, anything you do around the Lagoon involves a dive into the past in search of bygone times, of the early beginnings and the fundamentals values of life. Depending on how much time you have at your disposal, you can put together a very loosely former itinerary (considering also the high frequency of city transportation service.) Here are a few tips, noting that the main itineraries (at least those heading to the northern Lagoon) depart from the Fondamenta Nuove landing ramp.
MURANO. this is arguably the most famous island in the Lagoon of Venice, a center of the glassmaking industry which represents an art that by tradition has been handed down from father to son. Consequently, you shouldn't skip a tour of the famous glass-blowing workshops, of the Basilica of San Donato (as old as the Basilica of Saint Mark's Square in the old town of Venice), and naturally of the invaluable Glass Museum: you ghet there in less than 15 minutes.
BURANO. The island is located about 30 minutes by boat from Murano, and still inhabited, along with Pellestrina, by fishermen. Together with the Island of Torcello, it forms the most classic itinerary to the estuary islands. You'll find here the most typcal Lagoon atmosphere, both from the human and urban points of view. Lace-making made the island famous back in the 16th Century. Here, too, a museum helps you discover the secrets and wonders of "the most noble and most Italian of laces". Burano is also a painters' favorite thanks to its small houses that are painted with lively colors and suspended between a blue sky and agreen lagoon. If you have a bit of time to spare, you can take a a boat ride from the main island square to the beautiful Island of San Francesco del Deserto which is densely covered by cypress trees. Here the Francisan friars will take you on a tour of the old monastery and of the small churched which was founded, so the legend goes, by the Saint of Assisi.
TORCELLO. Lying isolated among deserted sandbars some ten minutes by boat from Burano, this island was once the Lagoon capital. Up until the 16th Century it was one of the primary and most flourishing settlements in the Lagoon area. All that remains today to recall that long-gone glory are two jewels: the centuries-old Cathedral and the Church of Santa Fosca (of extraordinary historical and artistic value). You should also visit the Museum of the Estuary, which offers noteworthy archeological finds (closed on monday); the legendary Attila's Throne: and the austere Medioeval tower, from whose top you can enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Venice Lagoon.
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