This small community is more a suburb of Venice than a town in itself. It is sometimes known as “glass island” and, as the name suggests, is famous for its tradition of glass blowing. It is as such home to many glass factories, and Murano glass is famous throughout the world. Most of the factories will not open their doors to visitors, but you may be able to book yourself in for a demonstration, which will showcase the craftsmanship.
This glass is also on sale, though be careful to avoid the cheaply made scams that have recently found their way onto the island! For a little more history about the craft, you can visit the Museo del Vetro Murano. Here you can follow the development of this artisan industry. This dates back to before the 1200s, when glass first became symbolic of Murano. Today, you can see a display of the skill of Murano’s craftsmen through various glass sculptures that are dotted around the center.
One of the great pleasures of visiting Murano is simply walking along its slightly less-crowded canals. As opposed to in Venice’s center, here you will find quaint little restaurants, shops and cafés. These populate the waterways as well as the side streets. In this area you can also visit the Campo Santo Stefano. This is somewhat of a meeting place and point of reference for tourists. Here you will also find a 19th-century clock tower. The impressive Basilica dei Santa Maria e San Donato is also well worth a visit. Within this church space you will find gorgeous 12th-century Byzantine mosaic pavements which are reminiscent of those you find in Venice’s Basilica di San Marco. The mosaics continue into the dome of one of its side chapels.
The easiest way to access Murano is from Venice, using the vaporetti water-taxi service.