Venice boasts more sights than a person can see in four days, not just because it’s full of beautiful art and cultural destinations, but also because Venice is a whole lagoon, and the main island that the city is on is not host to all of its wonders. We took time to see two of the islands in the lagoon during the time that we were there, and it provided us a glimpse of a different side of Venice. At the same time, I think there were many things we didn’t get to see, which makes me a bit sad. In the end, there are definite trade-offs to the decisions you have to make about the brief hours and days you are given here.
Our first island was Murano, which is internationally renowned for its glass. We took a ferry of just 10 minutes from the north side of the city, going past San Michele, the city cemetery. I had joked to Steve about what the people in Venice go when they die, and apparently, they are buried on a whole different island. Venice is such a small place that they barely have a city park, so I imagine green space is a bit harder to find. On the ferry, we got a good glimpse at San Michele, which is like a brick-walled island, with dark green cypresses encircling it, and one very creamy marble church. Ezra Pound and Igor Stravinsky are just two of the famous people who are buried there. When we finally disembarked on Murano, we found a distinctly different island, where there were barely any people around once you got off the main tourist strip, and many houses had signs of “VENDENDI” meaning for sale. I think that many parts of Italy, away from the tourist masses, are suffering economically, as many of the industries that used to thrive there have died away or left for cheaper countries. We saw some of that on Murano, but nevertheless, it still has some of the charm of Venice. We were there for the Museo del Vetro (Museum of Glass), housed in a former villa. It began in the 1860s, which is a neat thing I like about the Venetian museums. Even before the 20th century, people started recognizing that there were many traditions and artifacts worth preserving, and began these museums like Museo del Vetro and the Doge’s Palace.Continue reading Islands of glass and sand