R and I got up bright and early for our second day in Venice. After a nice breakfast at our hotel, R asked about some details about going to the island of Murano, home of "Murano Glass" in the lagoon. It turns out that, without us having been the wiser, that our hotel runs trips out there for free. They'd stick us on a boat just outside the hotel, which would take us out to the island. This is much better than the mile or two walk to the other side of Venice over the grand canal and the twisty streets that we had planned. There was even a free tour of one of the oldest glass furnaces involved as well. Getting back was up to us...
We took the taxi boat arranged and had a wonderful ride out to the island. It is a bit outside of the main collection of islands that is Venice (though I think it is technically still part of the town). We had this beautiful ride in the lagoon with the fog on it and the sun rising over the waters. The main city was behind us and Murano up ahead on the left. We pulled up to a dock and were met by a nice gentleman from the Rosetto Furnace. He took us to where they were blowing and shaping glass after some discussion and display of some of the minerals added to give color. We got to watch a master glassblower and his assistants work on the glass for 15 or 20 minutes. We then went in and looked at a gallery of the work that they produce. The Rosetto family is, apparantly, one of 12 families on the island that still produce glass by the old-fashioned methods and blow it all by hand. The family has been blowing glass since the 1300's. Amazing stuff.
Of course, following this, they showed us many fine pieces for sale. We'd expected this and looked around their gallery a bit. They have no catalog or web site and each piece is its own thing, which may or may not wind up being reproduced again. We wound up buying a very nice crystal vace, cobalt blue, with starburst patterns that I picked it. It's the kind of thing that I want to have in my home and something that I'll be proud to look at for years to come to remind me of the trip.
Eventually, we left and looked around the island for a bit longer. We bought a few smaller glass nicknacks for family, had some gelato and then caught the "bus" boat back to Venice. We went back to our hotel for a nap, still a bit jet lagged.
Later on, we got up and caught another boat to the Academy by San Marco. Unfortunately, we got to San Marco's basilica right at closing so I was not able to see inside of it. We did wander around the piazza for a while and then began the hike back to our hotel, looking for dinner.
Did I mention Venice is a maze of tiny alleys and streets broken by random bridges over small canals? We followed an intestine-like path over what seemed to be about a third of Venice (and actually, might have been). On the way, we stopped for a pasta dinner at a nice ristorante and had a bit of wine. I wonder if that helped or hindered the path home? Eventually, we recognized where we were and made our way back to the hotel. We had planned to go out for a drink later but, being rather tired, we crashed at the hotel for the rest of the evening...
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