October 24, 2010

Burano and Torcello

Venice was our last destination after Rome, Florence and Pisa The moment we alighted at the Venice train station, I just couldn’t contain my excitement. With its romantic waterways, Venice was so alluring and everything that I imagined it to be.

Venice is a really confusing city to navigate on foot, as it wasn’t built to make sense to those on foot but rather to those plying its canals. Getting lost in Venice is one of the fun things to do, as you can stumble across Venice’s most intriguing corners and decaying Gothic palaces decorated with pointy Byzantine windows. BUT it was certainly no fun getting lost while dragging a heavy suitcase each, as we did trying to locate our hotel – which we found after searching for 30 minutes or so!

After freshening up, we headed to the vaporetto (water bus) dock and took a vaporetto to Burano, world famous as a center of lace making, a craft that reached its pinnacle in the 18th century. It is a charming fishing village with cartoonlike, brightly colored houses in pink, lavender, cobalt blue, barn red, butterscotch, and grass green.

Can't get enough of 'em houses

Burano is world famous for its lace industry

Then, we took the vaporetto a short trip away to Torcello. Of all the islands of the lagoon, Torcello, offers the most charm. So-called the Mother of Venice, Torcello was the first of the lagoon islands to be called home by a mainland population fleeing the Barbarian hordes that overran the Italian peninsula during the Dark Ages. It was like stepping back in time as we strolled along the canal and traversed an ancient stone bridge (nicknamed "The Devil's Bridge") to Venice's oldest monument, the Cattedrale di Torcello (Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta), whose foundation dates from the 7th century. Unfortunately it was already closed when we arrived so we didn’t manage to visit the interior of the church. Most of Torcello today is a nature reserve, and roughly 20 people still live on the island.

Things we see on our walk from the vaporetto dock to the Cattedrale di Torcello

Cattedrale di Torcello

The Torcello vaporetto dock

On the vaporetto back to Venice, a massive thunderstorm caught up with us (a refreshing change considering the extremely hot weather during the entire time we were in Italy). We went for dinner and by the time we finished, the rain had stopped so we went for a night stroll around Piazza San Marco.

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