La Serenissima (Venice)
Friday, June 28
A day-visit to Venice was on the agenda for today.
Venice has become somewhat of a popular spot for us to visit when we visit Italy. Although it is on a broad floodplain close to the mouth of the very flat Po valley, it is situated quite close to the Dolomite mountains, making it quite easy to reach as a day-trip. From our apartment in Riva, it was only a two-hour drive away.
I have a fairly established pattern when day-visiting Venice. Drive to the neighborhood of Marghera (part of the municipality of Mestre, on the coast opposite Venice), find a quiet street with free parking, then walk to the nearby train station and take the train directly into Venice. The cost is very cheap - a fraction of what you'd pay if you drove your car to the crowded and expensive Tronchetto cark park in Venice.
The price of the Mestre-Venice ticket had actually gone up since we were last here - but only by 20 euro cents, from 1 euro to 1.20 euro. After figuring out the quirks of the automated ticket machine, we were soon on one of the frequent trains that came by on the way to the Venice train terminal.
We didn't have any specific destinations for visiting while we were here - other than a desire by Miriam to see if she could visit with some Muranese glass-makers over on the island of Murano. So, we decided to head there first. Since the so-called "Island of Glass" is - unsurprisingly - on a separate island, we soon hopped on a vaporetto (a waterbus) for the ride over. The day was still cloudy and a little damp from yesterday evening's stormy weather, but so far precipitation-free.
Looking down the Grand Canale
We stepped off the waterbus onto Murano around noon. We were immediately enticed to visit one of the local glassworks, but I stupidly thought that anyone doing enticing right at the bus stop must be desperate and therefore not worthy of attention. We would find out later that that was what exactly we should have done, much to Miriam's chagrin.
Instead, we chose to walk down one of Murano's "main drags", admiring as always the sights and sounds of this unique maritime-meets-city hybrid that is Venice and surroundings.
Atmospheric Venetian Building
After wandering around a bit, unsuccessful in finding an appropriate glass-maker to visit, we decided to stop for lunch, at what turned out to be perhaps the lowest-quality of the restaurants we were to visit on this trip - Trattoria al Corallo. All in all, it wasn't a bad place - just not as good as some of the other places we'd eaten at.
After lunch, we decided to split up for a while, into three groups: Daniel and Hanne, Miriam and Asmir, and the rest of us: myself, Jenn, Luke, Sophie and Kate. We agreed to meet at a specified point and time.
Spire of S. Pietro Martire
As fate would have it, the one who wanted to visit a glass-maker met with the least success. Miriam and Asmir were unsuccessful in their quest, and instead Daniel and Hanne hit the jackpot: wandering back to that first place we had seen as soon as we had gotten off the waterbus, they were treated like special guests and ushered in for an almost-private look at the inner workings of Vetreria Murano.
Myself, Jenn, and the Wards weren't as lucky as Daniel and Hanne, but we did wander past the open door of an active glass factory and were able to get a limited peek inside. Several artisans were working within, twirling and shaping red-hot lobes of glass.
We wandered further east to the bright white spike that is Murano's Lighthouse. There, we re-converged back into a group of nine, and were ready for our next bit of exploring.
Faro di Murano
There wasn't really a specific plan. Just a general idea to continue wandering about. Murano's lighthouse is adjacent to one of the waterbus stops, and we simply hopped on the next bus bound for Venice. As we motored our way back to the main island of Venice, we noticed that the earlier inclement weather had completely gone, and was now replaced with a beautiful sunny afternoon.