Mazzorbo, Burano, Torcello

by Roberta Nalesso | Redazione VeneziaSi

Mazzorbo, Burano, Torcello This excursion of interest, not only landscape but also ethnographic and cultural, will lead you to the historic, artistic and popular heart of the north lagoon that offers itself to a visitor, revealing itself in multiple and contradictory aspects of its actual reality. A suggestive experience, to relive one whole day, without harrying, with a soul willing to discover and be astonished by given beauty of nature and traces of history that used to a theatre for this part of the lagoon.

1°stage: (2h) We take Line 12 - from Venice Fondamente Nove for Mazzorbo, Burano, Torcello and embark on this pleasurable journey by waterbus that will take us to a surreal atmosphere of an archipelago of islets that is about 45 minutes away from the historic centre of Venice. The first one to welcome us in this "other Venice" immersed in tranquillity of the lagoon is a solitary and discreet landscape of Mazzorbo. While on the nearby Mazzorbetto, reachable only by boat, vegetation is luxuriant and wild, Mazzorbo is filled with simple coloured houses alternated with vegetable gardens and vines. Once you get off at the ACTV stop of Mazzorbo, turn right and after a few minute walk, you will see a 14th century small conventual church of Santa Caterina, one of the last remains of the ancient Maiurbium full of monasteries, churches and noble villas. Followed by a small and suggestive atrium with herring-bone flooring, the small church is alongside a nice dome bell tower where the most ancient bell of the lagoon is kept, and a small public park accomplished in the old cemetery where it's worthwhile stopping.

2°stage: (2h 30')We continue our walk and cross the wooden bridge that will take us to Burano, a lively fishermen island as it can be noticed from boats moored along the shores and canals which, heedless of unbridled activism that dominate few kilometres away, still preserves its rhythms, its traditions and its colours unchanged. In fact, a true and real explosion of colours hits a visitor who has never been here. We advise you to walk slowly and lose yourselves in this walk through an island where slowness, identity and sense of community seem to be seized by time and space. Letting your look run along the coloured walls of houses where the hanged sheets flutter and on which the white panels of doors and windows stand out, you might still see an elderly lady sitting in front of the house entrance, busy with making lace, once a principal productive activity of the island and today one of its major tourist attractions. Going beyond small terraced lace shops that are trying to grant themselves tourists in search of an illusory handcrafted souvenir, you will reach main square of the island, named after renowned baroque musician “buranello", Baldassarre Galuppi. Here, to the ones that want to know more about ancient art of lace, we suggest a visit to Lace Museum, otherwise we suggest that you go back to the ACTV wharf and continue your itinerary towards another target, not reachable from most parts of tourist flows of the islands, which usually stop at the most crowded Murano and Burano.

3°stage: (3h)So, we'll take a waterbus and after few minutes of sailing we'll get off at the nearby island of Torcello. Accosting this island, which once upon a time was the "capital" of the north lagoon and whose inhabitants can be counted today on fingers of one hand, will surprise you by its rustic and desolated aspect that it itself to a visitor. Together with few isolated houses, fences and meadows grown wild – indications of ancient gardens - and a vegetable garden here or there, these seem to be a unique trace of a human presence to the eyes of those who, in engrossed and slothful silence of this semi-deserted place, try to imagine themselves in a hard-working and busy maritime harbour city, gleaming with churches and palaces, in the middle of what used to be in the past the heart of economic and social life of the Venetian civilisation. When you get off the waterbus, follow the cost along a narrow canal on the left and shortly you'll see the solitary ponte del Diavolo (devil's bridge) that, according to legend, has appeared in the middle of this bridge in a shape of black cat every night on 24th December. The idea of finding yourselves in a ghost island will leave space for an impression to be in a surreal place when you arrive to a grassy churchyard surrounded by a heart of red bricks of the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, the most ancient one in the lagoon, side by side to its baptistery, the martyrium of Santa Fosca, the bell tower and the palaces of the Council and the Archive, today seats of Estuary Museum with its Archaeological and Medieval sections. In the middle of the square you'll see an ancient marble seat, used by Courts to administrate justice, but which, according to legend, would have been Throne of Attila, who was the king of Huns. Contrast between refined brilliance of the Byzantine architecture and slow and constant advancing of nature highlight even more the sensation to have arrived to an island-museum, an icon and a keeper together with their own ancient splendour. We advise to visit the splendid marble and Byzantine mosaics that decorate the floors and walls inside basilica and continue towards uncultivated part at the back where you can almost completely walk on stone paved footpaths before climbing up the bell tower, an ideal view point for perceiving the lagoon landscape in its intricate complexity. Coming down the bell tower, you could conclude visit to Torcello with a walk in full sandbank along the embankment which follows the coast of one of many small canals of this lagoon.
On the way back by waterbus that will bring you back to Venice, you'll come across two islets looking deserted, Madonna del Monte and San Giacomo in Paludo, where two thousand years ago used to be a convent with guestrooms giving shelter to sailors and today is a centre of environmental research.
Addresses and useful information

Island of Burano

Church of San Martino Vescovo
Island of Burano cap 30012 - Burano - Venice
Telephone: +39 041730096
Opening hours: From 8.00 to 12.00 and from 15.00 to 19.00

Lace Museum
Address: Island of Burano Piazza Galuppi, 187 cap 30012 - Burano - Venice
Telephone: (+39)041730034 (+39)041735471
Opening hours: From April to October: 10.00 - 17.00
From November to March: 10.00-16.00
Ticket office closes 30 minutes before
Weekly closure on Tuesdays.
Closed 25th December, 1st January, 1st May
Entrance fee: full € 4.00 reduced € 2.50

Island of Torcello

Cathedrals and Bell towers
Address: Island of Torcello cap 30141 - Venice
Telephone: (+39)0412960630 (+39)730119 (ticket office) (+39)0412702458
Opening hours: Cathedrals: from March to October from 10.30 to 18.00, everyday from November to February from 10.00 to 17.00, everyday
Ticket office closes 30 minutes before
Bell tower: from March to October 10.30-17.30, from November to February 10.00-17.00
Entrance fee: Cathedral: € 3, reduced € 2.
Bell tower: € 2 (with guided tour).
Reductions applicable to: Groups of minimum 10 persons – Entrance fee reduced for groups
E-Mail: This email address is protected from bots spam, necessary to enable JavaScript to see it

Church of Santa Fosca
Island of Torcello cap 30012 - Venice
Telephone: +39 041730084
Opening hours: everyday 10.00-16.30.

Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Address: Island of Torcello cap 30012 - Venice
Telephone: 0412702464 041.2702458
Opening hours:
from March to October everyday 10.30-18.00; from November to February everyday 10.00-17.00
Ticket office closes 30 minutes before
E-Mail: This email address is protected from bots spam, necessary to enable JavaScript to see it

Torcello Museum
Island of Torcello Palazzo del Consiglio cap 30012 - Venice
Telephone: (+39)041730761 041730119 (cathedral ticket office)
Opening hours: From March to October: 10.30-17.00
From November to February: 10-16.30
Ticket office closes 30 minutes before
Closed on Mondays and all holidays, closed 25th December and 1st January
Entrance fee: full € 3 reduced € 1.50
Reductions applicable to: Groups of minimum 10 persons.
All-Inclusive ticket for cathedral, bell tower and museum € 6/reduced € 4 (groups of minimum 10 persons)
By purchasing all-inclusive ticket you are entitled to audio-guide in Basilica and printed guides in Museum
All-inclusive tickets: Museum + Basilica + Bell Tower: € 8; € 5,50, reduction for groups,
Museum + Basilica: € 5,50, reduced € 3 (groups of minimum 10 persons, children under 12), free for children under 5
For information and booking of guided tours  tel. 0412702464

Indicative length of journey: one day



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Address and Informations

Duration: una giornata
Transportation: a piedi, in vaporetto

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