The Famous Venetian Islands

February 20th, 2018


Venice is a city that’s built upon a lagoon. The city itself is made up of lots of little islets. When you visit Venice, I encourage you to take a tour away form the centre and visit the famous Venetian islands for a little while – you won’t be disappointed. Here’s what to expect: 

Murano Island

It’s the most popular of the Venetian islands. It is still famous for it’s unusual glass products. Glass making is the tradition that has continued for hundreds of years on Murano. Today, you can watch some artisans at work, creating glass products. Glassmakers were moved here in the 14th Century as the City of Venice was worried that if a fire broke out in the glass workshops it’d burn the city to the ground, as many Venetian buildings were wooden. Murano’s glass was famous across Europe. It was unique because it was made with pure silica extracted from local quartz stones. Glassmakers were not allowed to leave Venice and start work elsewhere in Europe – the republic would not allow them to take their skill elsewhere! 

Famous bird glassworks of Murano Island in Venice Italy

Murano glass creations on Murano, set against the Venetian sky. 

Burano Island

Burano really is a picture postcard setting. There are little canals lined with the most beautifully bright houses. Apparently they were painted this way to help returning fishermen spot their homes when visibility was poor. Burano is also famous for its artisan lace – which is still made on the island today, although now, much less is created than before. You can visit the lace museum and still buy the product – but ask to make sure it’s handmade. 

To really experience the famous glasswork Island of Murano and the fishermen island of Burano, come with us on our Islands of the Lagoon: Murano and Burano tour!

The colourful houses of Burano Island in Venice, Italy.

Beautifully colourful Burano. 

Torcello Island

Torcello is home to the 7th Century Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’Assunta – inside are some absolutely breath-taking 11th and 12th century mosaics – The Mother and Child and The Last Judgement. It’s fascinating to consider that this is the birthplace of Venice. When Attila the Hun’s forces were attacking Italy after the Roman Empire fell, some people from the mainland fled to Torcello. It was a popular residence until the 14th Century when it was struck by an outbreak of Malaria. 

The island itself is a green oasis – much of it now a nature reserve, with only 20-30 permanent residents - so it can be a heavenly escape from busy Venice. There is a also a touch of the old world glamour here at the Locanda Ciprian hotel – beautifully decorated and a charming place altogether. You’ll be impressed to find the framed thank you notes of the previous visitors adorning its walls – including one from the Queen of England. 

You can travel to each of the three Islands with us here at Venice Incoming on our Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands tour!

The tower on Torcello Island in Venice, Italy.

Torcello Island and her Cathedral - Santa Maria Dell’Assunta. 

Sant’Erasmo Island

This is known as the ‘orchard of Venice’. It’s the largest of the islands in the lagoon, and whilst there are no tourist sights to tick off, it’s popular with the locals. Top tip – in summer, you’ll see boats of Venetians making their way to the island where they will have picnics near the farms, whilst the majority of the tourists stay in Venice. It’s always a good bet to follow the locals to find some relaxation and shade in the summer. 

Beach at Sant'Erasmo Island in Venice, Italy.

‘Locals’ at the southern end of Sant’Erasmo Island. (Commons Wikipedia).

The Lido

It is very busy in summer, and it’s a fascinating part of Venice to visit. This island – situated between the Lagoon and the sea, was an important and popular stop on the Grand Tour in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Now it has a regular spot on the billing for the Venice Film Festival – this is where the famous faces walk the red carpet. 

Lido Beach in Venice Italy at Sunset

The Lido beach in the morning light. 

How to Explore Venice and her Islands 

If you are planning to visit Venice then to make the most of your time, it can be a good idea to link with an experienced tour guide – and our team at Venice Incoming would be delighted to help you explore the city and the gems of our lagoon, on your own terms. Visit our website at for more information. As well as our Islands of the Lagoon: Murano and Burano Tour, we also provide a boat tour of Murano and Burano Islands - but don't worry, you'll still get to set foot on the islands too!

You can also stay up to date with our tours, news and reviews from other guests by following us on our Facebook, TripAdvisor and Instagram pages.

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