Whether it's your first trip to Italy, or your first vacation with the in-laws, your first time in a new place can be overwhelming, am I right? Especially when you factor in limited transportation, a language barrier, and the daunting list of "must-see" sites in a place like Venice. I think I've shared with you the difference between Ian and me, in one of our earlier Italy posts. Typically the list of circumstances I just mentioned is enough to talk me out of going anywhere or doing anything ever. I hate standing in line. I hate shouldering my way through crowds. I hate overspending on overrated food, museums, excursions, etc. Even just anticipating all the above is enough to cripple me with fear. Leaving me with only enough energy to wander around my hotel room in search of the strongest wifi connection to watch an episode buffer on Netflix instead of going out and exploring a new place. I know, I'm no fun. But you know who makes me fun? Ian! This is why he is the perfect match for me! He convinces me to take risks, promising to hold my hand along the way. I swear he is intimidated by nothing. And he always, always, always makes every experience more fun. So that is how I got to Venice, in a nutshell ;) But I know Ian already showed you Venice in photos, so what I want to tell you about is our excursion to the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torchello.
On day two of conquering Venice, we decided to spend a bulk of our time on a little boat cruise to these three mysterious islands we had seen in pictures. It is possible to take a private water taxi. And by “possible”, I mean po$$ible. Which is why we booked $20 cruise tickets through a third-party tourism app (called Viator) instead.
Murano was the first stop, and included in our tickets was a tour and lecture in a glass museum (Murano is known for it’s glass art). While this seemed to be an activity the older people on our tour enjoyed, we snuck out early to explore on our own. Even then, we found ourselves with about twenty minutes to spare, so we plopped ourselves in a café, ordered pizzas to-go, and sipped our newly discovered obsession; spritz aperol, until our time was up. Note to future selves: do not chug a full glass of spritz in under twenty minutes on an empty stomach.
When we got back on the boat, we soaked up some of the spritz with our pizza and before we knew it, we’d made it to our second (and most anticipated) stop: Burano! Known for it’s colorful houses and handmade lace, this place was even better than the pictures. Truly truly. There was nothing we didn’t love about Burano (other than the tour guide rushing us back onto the boat after only twenty minutes of exploring). It felt like we were running around inside a crayon box.
Weeping, we waved goodbye to Burano from the top deck of our boat. The only comfort we found was in promising ourselves we’d come back one day. Possibly to live. Forever.
We were feeling a little bitter about how short our time in Burano was, so in an effort to protest against the need for anymore stops on this cruise, and to instead turn the boat around and head back to Burano, we just sat on the top deck refusing to get off in Torchello. The tour guide even said that there was really nothing to see in Torchello, except for a church. Which is why they allotted only fifteen minutes on this stop.
As soon as we saw all of our fellow cruisers exiting the boat and because we both have a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out), we too left the vessel and found ourselves in the most picturesque village ever. It truly was everything I pictured “little Italy” to be, which was a refreshing surprise after about twelve days of hitting all the major spots in northern Italy.
The only thing we didn’t love about the tour was that the timing was all planned out for us. We found that we could’ve used less time in Murano, and wayyyyy more time in Burano, and probably could’ve skipped Torchello altogether only because there is really nothing to do there.Would we recommend going on this tour? Yes, absolutely. You cannot go to Venice without visiting at least Burano, but the other two villages/islands were just as adorable, in their own ways. If you can afford to take a private water taxi (this is something we would totally $plurge on next time, now that we know), we would recommend spending most of your day in just Burano. We heard there are some yummy seafood restaurants there too, but we weren’t there long to experience any of them.