Two days is plenty of time to get to get a feel for Venice, so after we got our fill of wandering around, we did a half-day trip to the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. We had thought that 3½ hours was too much time, but with only about 45 minutes on each island, it turned out to be not enough.
Murano has been home to the famous Venetian glassmakers since 1291, when fears of fires forced them out of Venice. Our visit started with a short glassmaking demonstration at one of the factories. I’ve seen glassblowing before and it is amazing, but even more incredible was the solid glass cat that we saw being pulled and stretched into shape like so much taffy. Afterwards, we visited the showroom and window shopped. The guide had recommended visiting the church a bit further on, but there really wasn’t enough time.
Burano is known for its colorful houses and lacemaking. The lacemaker was at lunch when we arrived, however, so we decided to follow her example and dine in the main square. By the time we’d eaten our tortellini with asparagus sauce (delicious!) and finished our wine, it was time to get back on the boat.
Torcello is famous only for being the oldest continously populated region of Venice, which was hard to believe when the boat let us off next to what I can only describe as a marsh. We walked alongside it for a good 10 minutes before arriving in “town”: a few ruins and 2 or 3 overpriced restaurants. We wandered around for a few minutes before eating dessert, and barely made it back to the boat in time.
All in all, it was an enjoyable outing, but it could have been better organized.