Glass turtle © roxelo
The Venetian Islands of Murano, joined by several bridges, make for a great trip for the whole family and the perfect place to seek out special Venetian souvenirs. In 1291 all the glass makers in Venice were sent to the islands for fear of fires starting in the wooden buildings of the city, and Murano has been a centre of glass crafts ever since. Visitors can enjoy watching the local art of glass-blowing, developed over the centuries in the place that made Venetian glass so famous and sought-after, and be amazed by the products that are created. And since glass-blowing is the thing to do on Murano, there are plenty of glassware shops and factories, most of which can be visited free of charge and where visitors can get some souvenirs to take home, or else simply enjoy looking around. The Museo Vetrario is another great place to admire glassworks.
Murano has more than just glassware on offer: it is a picturesque mini-Venice with its own Grand Canal, colourful old buildings and great restaurants. It is small and best explored on foot or by boat. There are also some interesting churches to visit: the Basilica dei Santa Maria e San Donato has stunning 12th-century mosaics; and the Church of Saint Peter the Martyr, built in the 12th-century, houses two art works by Bellini.
Address: Isola di Murano, Venice
Transport: Via vaporetto: line 41, 42 or DM from Fondamente Nuove; or 71 and 72 from San Zaccaria or Piazzale Roma