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Venice, Italy City Trip - Burano and Murano

Gondolas parked outside downtown Venice
Gondolas parked outside downtown Venice

VENICE DAY 3: Burano, Murano, Cannaregio, Castello

Treat yourself to a morning gondola excursion to watch Venice awaken. While the evening is considered the zenith of romance (think moonlit canals and illuminated palaces), a morning ride is far less crowded, making it easier to explore the ducts and passageways that link the labyrinth of islands. You'll also be able to better examine — literally at lagoon-level — the fine architectural details not visible in the dark. The city of Venice regulates the price of a gondola ride, but expect to spend a minimum of 80 euros per 40-minute ride.

Lace Museum workers
Lace Museum
It's a good time to explore one or two of Venice's other islands. Spend a couple of hours on tiny Burano, "the jewel of the Venetian lagoon," famous for its magnificent lace. If you're lucky, you may even spy a traditional lace maker sitting outside one of the bright and colorful little houses. If lace making is of interest to you, or you wish to buy a souvenir, check out the Museo del Merletto, or Lace Museum. Before heading back to Venice proper, enjoy an authentic Bussolà di Burano. This delectable cookie in the shape of a ring is to be eaten with a glass of the local white wine. Al Vecio Pipa is also a great place to get breakfast or an early lunch.

If you're in the mood to shop for art glass, visit Murano. While this island, with its overabundance of glass factories and glass shops, lacks some charm, you may enjoy the Museo del Vetro, or Glass Museum, with its splendor of chandeliers and fascinating collection of glass objects spanning six centuries.

Back in the city proper, head to the Cannaregio district, where a mixture of striking churches, Byzantine palaces and the celebrated Jewish quarter lend an exotic air to this unique neighborhood. To learn more about the history of the Jewish community in Venice, visit the Museo della Comunità Ebraica, or Jewish Museum.

Hotel Metropole
Hotel Metropole
One more palace worth mentioning is Ca' d'Oro, which, aside from its phenomenally sculpted marble exterior, possesses important works of Italian, Flemish and Dutch Masters.

Tonight, discover the Castello district, a residential area full of bars, cafés, restaurants and churches. Its gingerbread-like complex of shipyards and armories, known as Arsenal, is a compelling sight, although closed to the public. Those interested in Venice's extraordinary nautical history will want to visit the Naval History Museum around the corner.

Corte Sconta is a Venetian favorite for seafood, and it's right in the neighborhood. Order the famous seafood antipasto for the freshest sea creatures, harvested that day. Another option is Osteria al Garanghelo, known for the charisma of the "mamas" and their salad, fish fillets and lemon sherbet.

End the night at Harry's Bar. With its intimate, club-like interior and stylized service, this Cipriani original is as much a symbol of the city as the gondola. Try the signature Bellini, a fresh peach nectar and prosecco aperitivo.

If your pocketbook isn't bare, take that final splurge on a stylish water taxi back to your hotel and make plans for your next encounter with Venice. Arrivederci!


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Venice Bridge

*Photos from Musei Civici Veneziani and the Hotel Metropole


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