San Michele on Island and Murano

1°stage (1h) Start form Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, in the northern part of the Venetian historic centre where you can stop to contemplate an incredible dual forecast between gothic façade of the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo and that renaissance one of Scuola Grande di San Marco and then continue until you get to the wharf of Fondamenta Nove, from where you can take waterbus no. 41/42 in direction of Murano. From a boat, as it sails away from the shore you can catch a glimpse of the red of city walls and the green of cypresses, in contrast to the candid renaissance façade in Istrian stone of the church which, together with its white dome in the corner, rises above chess pavement of the square: it’s island of San Michele, an ancient cemetery of Venice, a first stage of our discovering journey of the north lagoon.
Waiting for a visitor on cuspidated portal of the Camaldolite cloister in order to introduce him to the fenced area of the cemetery we find San Michele, an angel who, defeating the dragon, seized its immortality. Inside the cemetery, along the rows of cypresses and sleepy yews, you could take a walk in two harmonious internal cloisters, next to the graves of Venetians, or stop for a while next to the ones of famous characters like Brodsky and Stravinsky who had chosen this water garden as their eternal resting place.

2° stage (2h) Take waterbus again and after few minutes it will bring you to a nearby Murano, called island “of the flames” indicating numerous furnaces that used to get transported here to limit the risks of fire in the city. Like a small miniature Venice, the island is divided in two by a wide canal that crosses it. Getting off at the stop Colonna we advise that you leave behind you an area most beaten by tourists who clutter up the glass factories and souvenir shops, and instead continue along the bank until the church of San Pietro Martire, where we suggest you enter and have a look at two beautiful altar-pieces by Giovanni Bellini that are kept inside. Leaving the church, we advise that you stop off near the Glass Museum where there are kept art memories which made this island famous worldwide and that have been conserved since the Roman era and up to this day.
At this point, you can certainly not leave until you have visited the “gem” of this island: the antique Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato, a splendid example of Veneto-Byzantine art. After a walk along the shore you will actually find yourselves in front of an imposing apse of the cathedral that overlooks the north lagoon of Venice in all its splendour, while the most humble early Christian façade faces toward Orient. It’s worth having a look at the pavement mosaics, internal decorations and the radiant and hypnotic Virgin that covers the golden dome of the apse. Finally, if the charm of glass has seduce you too and you want to take a glance at the artistic production that characterises Murano today, we suggest a stopover in one of the famous furnaces where, with a bit of luck, you’ll be able to assist with creation of one of many objects accomplished by the fire masters and which you can purchase directly from furnaces or from Murano glass shops. It’s also worth visiting the artistic glassworks by Venini, Moretti and Barovier that together organised a showroom in Fondamenta de Vetrai.
If you still want to continue with the itinerary towards the islands of Burano and Torcello, you could take a waterbus from the stop Faro, otherwise, if you want to return to the starting point you could take a waterbus again from the stop Colonna, in direction Fondamenta Nove.

Addresses and useful information:

San Michele on Island
Cannaregio cap 30121 – Venice
Opening times:
Cemetery is open from April to September from 7.30 to 18.00; from October to March from 7.30 to 16.00 – 25th December and 1st January from 7.30 to 12.00
Actv lines:
41, 42, 61, 62, 71, 72 stop San Michele on Island

Island of Murano

Church of San Pietro Martire
Campiello Michieli 3, Murano
Actv lines:
41, 42, 61, 62, 71, 72 stop Colonna

Museum of Glasswork Art
Fondamenta Giustinian 8, Murano
Opening times:
From April to October 10.00-17.00
From November to March 10.00-16.00 (ticket office closes 30 minutes before)
Closed on Wednesdays, 25th December, 1st January and 1st May
Entrance fee
: full 4 € reduced 2,50 €
Reductions valid for holders of Museum Pass, Islands’ museums and Museum Card
Actv lines:
  41, 42, 61, 62, 71, 72 stop Murano Museo

Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato
Campo San Donato, 30141 - Murano
+39 041 739056 +39 041 739056
Opening times:
 From Monday to Saturday: 9.00 - 12.00/15.30 -19.00. Sunday 15.30 - 19.00
Actv lines:
  41, 42, 61, 62, 71, 72 stop Murano Museo

Showroom Venini, Moretti, Barovier & Toso
Fondamenta dei vetrai, 30141 - Murano
+39 41 273 7204

Indicative length of journey: half day



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Duration: mezza giornata

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