Balkans Travelogue 10: Side Trip to Venice, Murano, Burano and Torcello

It was one of the worst days to visit Venice. It was so foggy; we could hardly see anything. We spoke to one of the shopkeepers, and she said that the weather was quite abnormal as it was fine the day before.

You can get to Venice through a variety of ways, but we opted for private car service as we were staying about 1.5 hours away. It was way more expensive compared to taking public transport, but still bearable when splitting five ways.

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You can hardly see the famous Rialto Bridge in the distance. The picture below is taken on the bridge.

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To get to St Mark’s, you just have to follow the yellow signages.

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The fog did not stop birds from descending.

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Initially, we wanted to take a gondola ride (I mean who goes to Venice without taking one of these), but it was so foggy, we put it off till later. However, it remained foggy the whole day, and we did not get an opportunity to take it.

We signed up for a Murano, Burano and Torcello Half-Day Sightseeing Tour with Viator some time back. The tour started at 11am and would take about 4.5 hours. It cost us USD$21.20.

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Our first stop was Murano, and I found it a total waste of time as the glass blowing demonstration was so short and straightforward (you can get better elsewhere), and the bulk of the time on the island was meant for shopping.

The second stop of the tour was Burano, an island famous for its colourful houses.

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I could not capture it, but the campanile was leaning!

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Did you know that the houses in Burano were coloured in the past to help fishermen recognise their houses in the fog? The colours have since been passed down through the generations, and to change, one has to get permission from the government.

It was a pity that Burano was the prettiest island among the three we visited, but we got to spend the least amount of time there.

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We visited Torcello, a sparsely populated island, last. It used to be a vibrant political and trading hub, but many of the residents moved to Venice, Murano and Burano due to the growing swamps. Now, only ten full-time residents live here.

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There was not much to see on Torcello, except for the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Church of Santa Fosca (entrance fees needed).

If you are thinking of signing up for the tour with Viator, let me warn you beforehand that the tour was extremely crowded and many people were left standing in the ferry due to lack of seats. The explanations of the places, while in four languages, were done only in the ferry and the sound was drowned out by the engine noise.

I would advise you to go free and easy to Burano, and give Murano and Torcello a miss, as there is nothing much to see or do there.

We got back to Venice around 3.30pm and came across this antique market in one of the many squares.

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We were feeling peckish and decided to hunt for food. I cannot remember the name of the place. I had the Gnocchi with Meat Sauce (12 Euro), and my friend had the Carbonara (13 Euro). Not the best pasta, but it was certainly satisfying after being out in the cold.

Following that, it turned dark (sunset around 4.30pm) and I could take no more photos as I was busy finding my way out of Venice! It was a literal maze of alleys and channels. Thankfully we had Google Map (though we still got lost a few times and the printed map did not work for us as some of the landmarks were not listed on the map). Also, Google Map tended to route us to the water taxis, so bear in mind that there are two main bridges for you to cross over.

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Finally, we made our way to the entrance and rewarded ourselves with some pasta at Bacco Felice. This restaurant was very crowded despite the hour, and there were messages on napkins pasted all along the walls from patrons and tourists.

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