Island of Murano (Venice)
But there are also big differences. Murano is much smaller. The island has just 5,000 inhabitants and an area of not much more than one square kilometer. You can call Murano a suburb of Venice. Murano is after the old town island, the actual Venice, the second most important island in the lagoon of Venice.
Tourists from nearby Venice come by thousands every day to the island of Murano. There are some interesting sights. The main attraction is glass. The glassworks, glassmaking and glass art of Murano are famous and have a long history. Perhaps nowhere else in the world glass is more beautiful than in Murano. Murano lives from glassmaking and tourism. The island visitors can watch the glassblowing in some factories, visit the great glass museum and, of course, buy glasses, bowls, vases, etc. made of Murano glass.
You can reach Murano by water bus (ferry, Vaporetto). The island is only a few minutes away by ferry from the main island of Venice. The water buses are very frequent and need only a few minutes for the crossing from the north of Venice. Some ships stop on the cemetery island of San Michele, which is also a famous sight. After getting off the vaporetto you are almost in the center of the island of Murano. It is not big, you can walk anywhere without problems.
The two main sights of the island of Murano are the glass museum Museo del Vetro and the famous church of Chiesa dei Santi Maria e Donato.
To Murano by water bus
Since this is a real island without bridges, access is only possible by boat. If you do not want to take an extremely expensive water taxi or have your own boat, you have to use a public water bus. This transport links the island of Venice with the smaller islands such as Murano. The departure times are frequent, the journey time from the north of Venice to the island of Murano is only a few minutes (distance less than one kilometer). However, tickets are quite expensive. (See: Water Buses in Venice)
As a tourist you buy best one of the day tickets z.b. for 48 hours or 72 hours and look at several islands in the lagoon of Venice. Between Venice and the island of Murano lies the interesting cemetery island of San Michele, which should also be visited on a day trip from Murano. The following information comes from the year 2017 and partly 2018.
Line 3: These are the fastest vaporetti from Venezia to Murano. They stop in Venice only at Piazzale Roma (Pier C) and at Santa Lucia Station (Pier D) and then continue straight to the islands of Murano. The journey time is about 20 minutes from the main station. The water bus line 3 operates during the day about every 20 to 30 minutes in both directions.
Line 4.1. and Line 4.2 .: These frequent vaporetto lines (approximately every 10 minutes during the day) circumto Murano at the cemetery of Venice (on island San Michele). The difference between the two lines 4.1. and 4.2. is that they circle Venice in the other direction. For tourists, it is possible to circumnavigate the main island of Venice completly with this water buses. This can be well combined with a trip to Murano. The vaporetti 4.1. and 4.2. are also sometimes called 41 and 42 respectively. They stop in Murano at different places and also go through a canal into the interior of the island. The central stop in the center of Murano is called "Museo".
Line 18: This line runs about 7 to 8 times a day and connects the island of Lido with Murano. Ideal for holidaymakers who stay in a hotel or campsite on Lido and want to visit Murano.
Lines 12 and 13: These lines connect Venice with the outer islands such as Burano (line 12), Torcello (line 12) and Sant Erasmo (line 13). Perfect for day trippers who want to make a stop in Murano after visiting an outer island.
All information is from the fall of 2017 to January 2018.
Which waterbus station should I get off in Murano?
The frequent Murano water buses of lines 3, 4.1. and 4.2. stop several times on the island of Murano, other lines only once. If you have the choice: The most important pier in the center of the island is called "Museo". Here you are just a few meters from the Glass Museum described above and the famous church.
But you can also get off at another water bus station and walk to the center. The distances are only a few hundred meters. Many tourists alight, for example, at the pier directly opposite "Colonna" in Venice and walk along the canal to the sights inside the island of Murano.
The water buses 12, 13 and 18 stop only at the pier "Faro" (translated lighthouse). Also no problem, it is about 10 minutes to the sights on foot.
Almost all day tourists on Murano visit the Museum of
Glass, Glassmaking and Glass Art. The visit is worthwhile.
On the ground floor you can see mainly old and antique
exhibits made of glass, some are 2,000 years old.
Upstairs, more modern glasses are on display. A room at
the Museum of Glass in Murano is devoted to glassmaking.
The different techniques and work steps are explained
vividly. Even the products made of glass from the present
time are worth seeing.
Probably the most important object in the Museum of Glass Murano is the so-called "Coppa Barovier". It is a larger, blue goblet, a wedding gift from the late 15th century. The museum (see picture) is right in the center, about 100 meters in front of the big church.
Opening hours Museum of Glass Murano 2018: The exhibition is open every day to the best of our knowledge. In summer, the opening hours are from 10 am to 6 pm, in winter from 10 am to 5 pm.
Entrance Fees Glass Museum Murano (Museo del Vetro) 2018: 10 euros for adults, children 6-14 years, pupils, students and some other groups pay 7.50 euros.
The famous Church Chiesa dei Santi Maria e Donato (Murano)
Almost next to the Glass Museum is the main church of the island of Murano, a basilica. It is one of the oldest churches in the lagoon of Venice. It was first built in the 7th century, but later rebuilt several times.
The church has a freestanding bell tower. Worth seeing are the colorful mosaics on the church floor inside the Basilica of Murano. Behind the altar are four about one meter long, very old bones, which are said to come from a dragon. According to scientific research, the bones are in fact from a large, extinct mammal. Also in the church of Santi Maria e Donato is the tomb of Donatus of Arezzo, a famous patron saint of the 4th century in a sarcophagus. The church is often not open at the early afternoon. The opening hours are limited during the week in the summer to the morning and the late afternoon (about 9 o'clock to 12 o'clock and 16 o'clock to 18 o'clock). In the early evening there is a service every day, in addition to Sunday mornings. During our visit in October 2017 the visit of the church of Murano was free, donations are of course very welcome.
Visit glass factories on Murano and glassblowers at work
There are several glass factories in Murano, where you can watch an Maestro in the art of glass blowing. Some of the factories have employees who talk to tourists in front of the factory or when leaving the water bus and lure them into their glass factory. Behind this, of course, is the idea to sell the products of the company to the holiday makers after the demonstration. All glass factories have large salesrooms. The prices of glassware are extremely different. Smaller things are often available from 5 euros (for example, beautiful necklaces). Other art objects made of Murano glass, however, cost thousands of euros.
The best glass maker demonstration on Murano: Among the many more or less interesting demonstrations of the glass companies in Murano we liked a show very much. Although this demonstration of glass blowing costs 3 euros, the demonstration is really great. A maestro (master glassblower) made a product out of glass with an assistant, in our demonstration it was a colorful vase.
A third, very nice person explains the working procedures alternately in English and Italian. A small grandstand has been set up for the visitors. It is only a few meters away from the Maestro and has the feeling of being in a real workshop. It is the glass factory Guarnieri near the vaporetto pier Colonnia in the south of the island. You walk about 100 meters along the sea towards the west - not along the canal to the island interior to the east.
Incidentally, in Italian, glass means Vetro, so a glass factory is a vetreria. Anyone using an electronic map such as Google Maps will find the glass factory described above by seaching for "Vetreria Guarnieri".
The comet (Cometa di Vetro)
The "Cometa di Vetro" is an art object that is displayed in the middle of the island in a public square. The approximately 3-meter-high object is a work of art made of blue glass and should remind of a comet.
The comet is worth seeing and great for photos. The glass artwork is south of the wide Canal Grande of Murano in front of the second largest church of the island "Chiesa San Pietro Martire".
More information Murano
Actually, the island of Murano consists of several islands, but it looks like one island, because there are bridges and distances are only a few meters. The main island is called San Donato.
In Venetian, the island of Murano is called "Muran".
In the past most of the inhabitants were fishermen, today most of the inhabitants of Murano earn their money in tourism or glassmaking. There are also hundreds of tourist shops, and a large part sells glass products and other souvenirs. Some glass shops are quite large and sometimes sell very expensive products. In some shops you feel like you are in a jeweler or something similar.
The large glass factories are mainly on the island of Sarenella, which is accessible via a bridge. Tourists rarely go there. There are some workshops with glassblowers in the tourist center of the island. Here you can watch. The whole island is usually very touristy. The focus is on the sale of glass objects to tourists.
It takes a few hours to visit the island of Murano. It is an ideal day trip. If you do not have much time, you can definitely visit another island or attraction on the same day. You can also see Murano in half a day.
In the season there is a lot going on in Murano, the water buses are often full. Better arrive before 9 o'clock or late in the afternoon in summer. Most tourists come between 10 o'clock and 12 o'clock and stay 2 to 5 hours.
In Murano there are at least 30 restaurants in all price ranges. Most restaurantshave local cuisine (Venetian and / or Italian). Others also offer international fast food such as hamburgers or hot dogs. Also some good pizzaria with prices under 10 Euro for a big pizza can be found on Murano.
Among the restaurants we have a clear favorite - good Italian food and very reasonably priced. It is the restaurant La Perla Ai Bisatei. Although it is only about 100 meters from the center of the island (museum and church), but a bit hidden in a side street. Looking for the place is worthwhile. As usual in Italy you can order at La Perla Ai Bisatei a pasta dish as an appetizer. Simple spaghetti with delicious fresh tomato sauce costs only 5 Euro. My delicious main course (beef steak) costed only 7 euros plus 3 euros for the side dish (potato with pea and carrot vegetables). For Venice dirt cheap.
You can also eat well in the restaurant Busa alla Torre in the southern part of Murano right next to the great work Cometa di Vetro. As a primi piatti (first course) we had fish ravioli and fish soup. The scampi and calamari are also delicious. Prices are ok for Venice.
The B Restaurant alla Vecchia Pescheria, one of the most famous places in Murano, serves deluxe food. It is on the canal from the south (ferry pier Collonia) towards the island center. You cab sit in a nice backyard.
The tuna in lemon sauce and the salmon with potato tasted good. Also the noodles with tomato and basil appetizer were great. In the "B Restaurant alla Vecchia Pescheria" you can get cheap and good pizzas (about 8.5 to 15 euros).
For a snack, there are several small bakeries and patisseries in Murano. Especially the local cakes and pastries you should try. For a coffee or ice cream, head to the Gelateria al Ponte bar right at the Canal grande. An espresso costs here still only 1 euro.
All information and prices are from October 2017