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VFR tour veterans: Murano or Burano?

Question 1: For those who've taken the Venice, Florence and Rome tour, which island do you visit as part of the tour? My impression is that it's usually Burano. Is that your experience or do they sometimes go to Murano instead?

Question 2: The Biennale art festival will be happening while we're in Venice. Has anyone here attended in the past and is it worthwhile?

Reason for asking: We've gained an extra day in Venice, thanks to an airline schedule change I posted about in another thread. So I'm compiling lists of things we might want to do. I was thinking a lagoon trip to Murano and possibly San Michele might be a pleasant half-day, assuming the tour group will visit Burano later.

Posted by
6 posts

Question 1: When we took this tour 3 years ago we went to both Murano and Burano (as well as Torcello) on the tour. The group had a private boat and we spent several hours on the lagoon.

Posted by
567 posts

The VFR tour this year did not go to Murano. It went to either Burano or Torcello, I don't recall as was sick and opted out.
I have not been to the festival. I did spend a full half day visiting San Giorgio Maggiore, visited the church and went up to it's bell tower: best view point of Venice and surounding areas on a clear day. Afterwards I strolled about and had a leisure waterfront lunch at the cafe closest to the small marina facing Venice. I think it's the only cafe on that island. What I enjoyed most about going out there besides the views was just getting away from the shoulder to shoulder size 'crowds'.

Posted by
425 posts

Can't speak to the tour but I really liked the church on Torcello. Different than what you see in Venice, and there's a small outdoor restaurant for a decent lunch, although it is a little further away.

I went to the Bienalle in 2015. How much do you like contemporary art, especially video? That was a lot of digital art, especially the Arsenale section. There were some interesting things to see, but it turns out digital art isn't my thing. I personally preferred the Giardini section where several countries have their own building for the display of their choice. Again, all contemporary. If you aren't sure about contemporary art or the cost, there are free displays of art of the Bienalle around the islands, within churches or other buildings. For example, San Giorgio Maggiore across from Piazzo San Marco had some very nice works. You should be able to get a map when you're there. Other places to see modern art are the Guggenheim and the Palazzo Fortuny that might be less expensive if you need a break from the Renaissance. It's nice to see something different, but if I were lucky enough to go back, I'd focus on walking around and seeing the free stuff. If you're into this though, budget at least 2 to 3 hours per section if you don't linger too much. Have fun!

Posted by
901 posts

The tour goes to Burano, and if there is extra time may make a stop at one of the other small islands as ours did. I had an extra day before the tour started so I bought a day pass on the vaporetto and headed out early to Murano and spent a couple of hours just wandering in and out of the glass shops. You can go watch a glass blowing demonstration if you want, but since I can see that here I didn't bother. I seem to recall it took 30-45 minutes to get there. I then spend the rest of the day doing the grand canal and getting off where I wanted to take photos. The day pass can be bought at a booth at St. Mark's Square. Now I want to go back to Venice!

Posted by
11294 posts

I really enjoyed San Michele, except that it was a very sunny day, and the graves themselves are not shaded (another poster loves to point out that there are trees - but they're on the walkways between sections only). I'd gladly go again, just with an umbrella to use as a sun shield.

Posted by
32 posts

We found the Venezia Unica city pass to be a great investment: Reduces cost of vaporetto to Euro 1.50. RS took us to Burano only. We spent Friday going to Murano and San Michele - a great half day trip and nice way to to adjust to the time change. Enjoy!

Posted by
48 posts

Just returned Sunday from the VFR tour - a great experience all around! To answer the island question, we went to Torcello and Burano. Torcello's draw is that it was the first inhabited island of Venice; it is now essentially uninhabited marshy land but has an interesting old church, and you can climb the bell tower. Burano was really picturesque and lovely, a relaxing respite from the crazy tourist scene on main Venice. Our guide explained they dropped Murano, as it is an industrialized island full of ugly factories (it did certainly seem like that as we passed it on the boat), only interesting if you want to see glass blowing, and you can buy Murano glass on the main island for same prices, just ask your guide for stores that sell authentic Murano glass, to avoid the cheap knockoffs being passed off as "genuine". That being said, one lady went pre-tour and thought Murano was fine, and purchased some jewelry there.

Posted by
788 posts

Alleyo: Thanks for that info. It'll help in making decisions when we get to Venice.

Glad to hear you had a good trip. I got our final tour documents today, woo-hoo! Yeah, I'm excited.