Island-hopping in Venice

Venice needs no introduction, if you ask what the most
famous city in the world is, I am sure it will come right at the
top of the list.

As well-travelled as I am, I had never been to Venice before. One of the main reasons was over-tourism – Venice has been known to receive over 20 million tourists per year, particularly shocking considering its local population is only 55,000. But with the ban on cruise ships and diminished crowds post lockdown, I thought that there was no better time to go.

I don’t think people realise that travelling to Venice is not just about the city alone, but also about the numerous islands scattered around it. Venice itself has a very unique geography and is sprawling over 118 submerged islands connected by over 400 bridges. Everything there is managed by waterways, from public transport to emergencies – we purchased a Vaporetto Pass during our stay. A Vaporetto is a form of public transport in Venice, like a bus or a tram in the UK. They have numbers as well as dedicated stops and a schedule. With an outside seating area and fresh sea breeze, it is a far cry from the miserable commuting we are used to here.

A 24-hour Vaporetto Pass costs 20 Euros and it is such an
enjoyable way to hop on and off whilst exploring the beautiful islands of the Venice lagoon. Alternatively, why not treat yourself and hire a private boat with a guide?

We visited three of the islands during our visit. Burano turned out to be our favourite, just so picturesque with its canals and colorful houses, it has a real fishing village feel and is famous for its lace-making. It takes about 45 minutes to reach it from Venice.

If you look for a trattoria to eat like a local, Burano is very famous for its seafood dishes, the most famous of which is the “risotto de gò”: the broth in which the rice is cooked is extracted from the “gò” a fish typical of the Venice lagoon.

Torcello is located only a few minutes away from Burano and is very rural and green in comparison and is a beautiful spot for lunch, – if you haven’t been treating yourself already to some Risotto de go! Due to the density of buildings, Venice itself can’t boast much greenery, which is why Torcello provides a very contrasting experience with its peacefulness, loud crickets and vineyards. The island is sparsely populated and provides an interesting glimpse into island living.

Tourists come to visit the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, with its Venetian-Byzantine mosaics and the views of nearby Burano from the bell tower, or to check out the Ponte del Diavolo, a bridge with no parapets, and the stone seat known as Trono di Attila. 

And lastly we visited Murano the island closest to Venice that has been famous for centuries for its glass making. 

When in Venice do not miss out on visiting these islands. If only w had more time to visit other nearby islands like Lido, where Venetians go for some beach time. 

We had a chance to experience two properties in Venice. We were beyond impressed with our stay at Aman Venice. Arguably the most exclusive hotel in Venice, this historic palazzo boasts the largest front garden overlooking the Grand Canal in the city and only 24 keys. The rooms are contemporary and very spacious with the most comfortable beds and free minibar. With the limited number of rooms and a great number of common areas, one does feel like a valued guest of a Venetian prince. I can’t recommend it highly enough for the discrete yet attentive service, fabulous cuisine and the tranquil atmosphere. A very special property for special occasions!

The second property was the lovely Londra Palace overlooking the Lagoon. It is a member of the prestigious Relais and Chateaux group and a perfect option for those looking to stay in the very centre of the city – St Mark’s Square is literally around the corner and a Vaporetto stop is just in front of the hotel. The hotel is charming and intimate, each room unique due to original architecture but always comfortable and with beautiful views, be it the lagoon or the red roofs of the city. We loved our room with a balcony overlooking the lagoon!

Maryna Shcherbakova