Visiting Murano on a day trip from Venice

Venice is an incredible city, which if you’re visiting for just a day or two means you have to prioritise the main sites. But if you’re in Venice for more than a couple of days, then why not explore a bit more and venture to some of the glorious islands surrounding the main attraction itself? Just a short vaporetto (water bus) ride away, the island of Murano makes for an amazing full or part day trip from Venice, either alone or in conjunction with the neighboring islands like Burano or Torcello.


Why visit Murano?

Murano is a beautiful little island, with a whole lot less tourists than Venice itself. It’s also famous for its glass blowing history, as it became the glass blowing centre of the world. This tradition is still the main draw of the island today, with multiple factories, furnaces and beautiful glass souvenirs to browse.

So how did glass blowing arrive in Murano? Well, at the end of the 13th century, the Venetian government determined that it was too dangerous to have glass-blowing furnaces continue to operate in Venice due to the many wooden buildings in Venice. So they moved it to the less important island of Murano where the glass blowers honed their trade to become the world standard in glass. Another benefit to Murano was that being a small island, it meant that the traditional processes and trade secrets could be maintained.

Nowadays, other places in Europe have great glass blowing reputations, but Murano still holds strong. Major glass-makers in Murano have banded together and developed a trademark that certifies glass made in Murano using traditional techniques in order to distinguish it from that made elsewhere in the world.

My living room has a beautiful certified glass dish in it, and every year both my Mum and I hang our Murano glass Christmas trees up as decorations to remember our trip together to the island.


How to get to Murano

Murano is easily accessible by Vaparetto. Vaparettos are effectively water buses that run through Venice to multiple stops. Buying Vaparetto tickets can sometimes be a bit confusing, so if you plan to use the service multiple times during your stay, then consider buying daily (or multiple day) passes. That way it works out much cheaper, and you don’t have to wait in line for tickets each time you want to ride the Vaporetto (plus, not every Vaparetto stop has a ticket machine if you’re boarding at a smaller stop).

Aboard the Vaparetto

You can take Vaparetto lines 12, 4.1 or 4.2 to Murano. I recommend getting off at the first stop in Murano, Murano Faro (lighthouse) to start wondering from there. Alternatively, you could get off at the Museo stop for the Duomo, or the Colonna stop to go straight to the glass factories.

At Murano Faro

What to do on a visit to Murano

  1. Browse the beautiful glass shops

You can’t visit Murano and not enjoy all of the glass it has to offer. There are countless gorgeous shops filled with elaborate and ornate glass ornaments, bottle stoppers, Christmas decorations, lights, photo frames, jewellery and everything else that can be made from glass!

Inside a glass shop

2. Watch a glass blowing demonstration

Exploring a bit more of the glass blowing history, Murano offers multiple glass blowing demonstrations where you can have a tour of the furnace and watch the glass blowers at work. You can either book an official tour, or do what we did and just drop in (oh the heady days when COVID wasn’t a thing!)

3. Wander the canals

Murano’s canals aren’t as famous as Venice’s but are still beautiful. It has its own Grand Canal which is lined by nice restaurants and glass shops. Pop in to the museum of the history of glassmaking, pay a visit to the Church of Santa Maria, eat lunch in a traditional Trattoria or just stroll and enjoy the colourful houses.

4. See the Comet Star sculpture

The Comet Star sculpture was created by master glassmaker Simone Cenedese, who is actually based on the island. It was assembled from 500 individually blown glass elements in 6 colours. It’s quite a striking monument!

The glass Comet Star

5. Visit the Duomo di Murano

Last but not least on the list is a visit to the beautiful Duomo. This church was built in the 7th century and is one of the oldest in Venice. It is known for its Byzantine mosaic pavement outside,  and is said to contain large bones behind the altar belonging to a dragon slain by a saint.

The Duomo

Thanks so much for reading. Have you ever visited Murano and what did you think? Despite our choice to visit on a gloomy day, I’m really glad we did. I never thought I’d know so much about glass blowing!! Stay safe and happy travelling.

17 Comments

  1. Every time, after reading your posts, I just want to go and pack my travel suitcase 😊. I love glass blowing – we’ve seen this on Malta as well – and I will probably spent all my holiday money in that glass shop in Murano!
    Thanks for all the beautiful pictures!

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    1. Awwww that is the best review I could ever wish for, thank you so much! πŸ™‚ I can’t wait until we all can pack up and see the world again! Ahhh I didn’t know they did it in Malta too, I must have missed it while I was there. Oh definitely, and then realise it’s all smashed in the suitcases haha!! Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely Friday πŸ™‚

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      1. The glass blowers in Malta are in Ta ‘Qali near Mdina (I think the glass is called Mdina Glass). I would love to go there again … maybe a trip via Murano to Malta πŸ˜‰. Yes, hopefully soon. Enjoy your Friday as well 🌸.

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  2. Wow, your photos are amazing. I’ve been to Venice twice, but never had a chance to visit any of the beautiful islands. So, Murano and Burano are still on my travel wish list, even more now after I had a chance to drool over your wonderful pictures. Aiva πŸ™‚

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  3. Whilst we were staying in Venice we also took the Vaparetta to the islands and it poured with rain the entire time so was very gloomy too. I live it that both you and your Mum decorate the Christmas tree(s) with a glass bauble from Murano. Since the last three or four years I’ve brought back a tree decoration from overseas trips evoking lots of fond memories, just wish I’d thought of collecting them earlier.

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    1. Yes it’s such a shame when it rains non stop, but I suppose places are beautiful even in the rain! Ahh it’s such a lovely tradition isn’t it. I was lucky that my parents have always done it, so when I moved out, I just automatically started doing the same. We have very eclectic collections from all over the world which every Christmas bring back so many happy memories πŸ™‚ Have a lovely weekend.

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  4. I visited Murano when I visited Venice the first time in 2006. I was young and although my memories of the visit are fuzzy, I remember attending a glass-making demonstration, which was pretty neat; I’m pretty sure that I also purchased a souvenir from there, too. It was 12 years later when I revisited Venice and went to Burano instead– another lovely day trip from the city!

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    1. Yes Burano is definitely on my list for next time, I just feel like every single part of Italy is beautiful and I need to go and live there for a while to explore it all! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day πŸ™‚

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  5. I’ve never been to Murano but looks like it’d make for a fun day trip. Hopefully I’ll get there and to Venice some day πŸ™‚

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