A maze of canals, boats and bridges, Venice is constantly abuzz while still embracing the tranquil undertones of the Italian life of leisure. It’s this kinetic, thriving atmosphere that makes Venice so lovable.
By day, you can count on the consistent chorus of boat traffic and pedestrian chatter outside your hotel window, yet by night, the canals quiet earlier than most Italian towns, and a stillness falls over the island and its lagoon.
The charm is inescapable, yet still, after a few days in Venice, a change of scenery may be welcomed. Walks Venice Tour proves that you don’t even need to go too far to escape the hubbub of the main island, as they whisk you away to the city’s surrounding islands like Murano, Burano, Torcello and San Francesco del Deserto for a cultural experience.
Many of the surrounding islands embrace their own ways of life, often creating products sold on the mainland, or even internationally. A Murano glass experience, exclusive wine tasting, and introduction to a vibrant fishing village await you on this day trip, here are 7 reasons you’ll love it.
1. You’ll travel like a local
Getting out on the water in Venice is an experience in itself; boating is a greater part of the local culture after all. By hopping on one of the classic, wooden “limousine” boats, you’re immersing into a local’s daily routine by experiencing local transport, in the comfort of your private vessel.
Just as the typical gondola has played a role in gliding through the narrow canals, the varnished limousines are also a part of Venetian history, as they zip around the lagoons, always perfectly shined and lacquered. Their consistent upkeep comes as part of the boat’s generational significance, as well as its status symbol; one of these wooden hulls comes at no cheap cost, like a Ferrari of the water.
2. It’s a new landscape
Being on the water in Venice is somewhat freeing. You’re cruising through the canals, viewing the city from the water—and this offers a unique perspective to wandering its narrow alleys. As you enter the main lagoon and begin motoring further away, watch as the main island shrinks into the distance and recognize just how truly magical this landscape is.
3. You get to visit 5 of Venice’s iconic islands in one day
Often day trips from Venice include a half day tour of just one island, which isn’t always entirely an efficient use of your vacation time. With Walks, you visit Burano, Murano, San Francesco del Deserto, Torcello and even a few secret spots along the way. Though it’s a full day, the island hopping is a trip you won’t want to miss.
4. This watercolor fishing village
Burano is renowned for its fishing. As you putter up to dock, you’ll notice the boats differ from the sleek wooden hulls you see zipping around Venice. These no-fuss fishing boats reflect the history of the island as a fishing village, still a prominent source of income for them today.
The island’s reputation is also rooted in lacemaking, with traditions dating back to the 1500s. Though lacemaking is less prevalent, today, you can still seek out shopfronts for quality lace and designs. Spend your own time wandering the Starburst color facades before joining back up with the group.
5. Learn about and taste this rare wine
The Dorona grape is only grown on Torcello—and at Venissa Winery, Walks gives you exclusive access to visit the vineyard (the only place in the world where the Dorona grape is grown).
As part of your wine experience, meet the family whom were bold enough to revive old vines which had adapted to the area’s distinct biodiversity. This is your chance to try a wine that starts at 140 euros in Italy, and even pricier outside the country.
6.Marvel at the earliest remaining mosaics in Venice
The Torcello Cathedral, or Santa Maria Assunta, was the first to be built in the Venice Lagoon dating back to the 7th century (639). This tour explains which parts of the facade are still in tact from its original structure, as well as the notable additions up until present, like the 11th-century bell tower. Also from the 11th-century and probably the most impressive element of the cathedral, are the golden mosaics framing the Biblical scene of Virgin Hodegetria during the Last Judgment.
7. Appreciate the technique of precious glassware
Murano glass is internationally acclaimed as one of the finest in the world. Yet it isn’t until you witness a demonstration and meet the locals who spend hours aside the open-fire yearn do you understand the fine skill required to create a single piece.
The demonstration included with your ticket is performed in a deconstructed 13th-century church, adding to the emphasis of the glass’ history in Murano. Though the glassblowers’ demonstration may make it seem easy, it’s clear the technique required years of practice to do so.
Regardless of whether you take home a trinket for yourself from one of the many glass-clad storefronts, you’ll surely start recognizing the distinguishable Murano glass pieces, like chandeliers, vases and glassware in restaurants, hotels and shops around the world.