9 Things to Do in Murano: An Unmissable Day Trip from Venice

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Are you planning a trip to Venice? 

Don’t miss out on the enchanting island of Murano, a hidden gem nestled in the Venetian Lagoon.

Known worldwide for its centuries-old tradition of glassmaking, Murano offers a unique blend of art, history, and culture that’s hard to find anywhere else.

If you’re wondering if Murano is worth it, the answer is a resounding yes. Make sure to not miss the unique little island that has a lot of hidden gems. 

I’m lucky enough to live near Venice and travel there quite often. Murano is always one of my favorite parts of any visit. 

So, are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey? Whether you are planning a day trip from Venice or an overnight stay, dive into my personal guide and start planning your Murano adventure today!

Is Murano Worth Visiting?

If you have enough time in Venice, it is definitely worth it to visit the island of Murano. It’s a treasure trove of unique experiences. It’s not just about the things to do in Murano, but also about the rich history and vibrant culture that you get to immerse yourself in.

There is a totally different atmosphere on Murano than on the main islands of Venice. You won’t see any gondolas, but you will see a slice of life in the Venetian lagoon.

canal of murano - is it worth it to visit murano

It’s very laid back and has a bit of a working class atmosphere compared to the luxuriousness of the Grand Canal. You can generally cover everything worth seeing in a few hours.

When you think of visiting Murano, you’re not just considering a trip to an island. You’re considering a journey into the heart of centuries-old traditions, stunning architecture, and the world-renowned Murano glass. The island of Murano is a place where you can witness the magic of glass-making, explore charming streets, and enjoy the serene beauty of the Venetian Lagoon. 

Is a glass blowing demonstration worth it?

One of the highlights of visiting Murano is the chance to watch a glass blowing demonstration. But is it worth it? Absolutely! Glass blowing is an art form that has been perfected over centuries in Murano. The glass blowers of Murano are masters of their craft, and watching them at work is truly mesmerizing.

glass blowing demonstration in murano is definitely worth it

During a demonstration, you’ll see glass masters transform a molten blob into a beautiful piece of art. It’s a dance of fire and glass, a testament to the skill and creativity of the artisan. Not only is it fascinating to watch, but it also gives you a deeper appreciation for the glass pieces you see throughout Murano. 

You should know that just about every demonstration will be followed by a visit to their store. Some will put on a high pressure sales pitch to get you to buy something from them. Others will let you peruse yourself and decide if you want to buy or not. 

If you are considering buying some glass works to bring home, then you should do so here since buying on the main island shops are sometimes full of cheap Chinese counterfeits. On Murano you will know you are getting high quality glass that is definitely true Murano glass. 

signs in window in murano about buying conterfeit glass - buy high quality glass work in murano

Murano vs Burano

When planning a trip to the Venetian Lagoon, you might find yourself choosing between Murano and its nearby island, Burano. Both islands have their unique charm, but they offer different experiences. If time allows, why not visit both? Each island offers a unique slice of Italian culture and tradition that’s worth experiencing.

Murano Island is world-famous for its glass-making. The island is filled with glass factories where you can watch artisans at work and shops where you can buy their creations. On the other hand, Burano is known for its bright and colorful houses and lace-making tradition.

While Murano offers a deeper dive into the world of glass art, Burano offers a vibrant and picturesque atmosphere perfect for leisurely exploration and photography. If you’re looking for the ideal Instagram location, then Burano is definitely it. 

Burano takes much longer to get to so make sure that you plan for a full day trip to visit both. If you are wondering how many days to spend in Venice is enough, make sure to account for a full day to see these islands and plan accordingly.

The 9 Things to Do in Murano

1 – Visit the Museo del Vetro (Murano Glass Museum)

One of the top things to do on Murano Island is to visit the Museo del Vetro, or the Murano Glass Museum. This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in real Murano glass art. It’s not just a museum; it’s a journey through time, tracing the history of glassmaking from its ancient beginnings to the present day.

murano glass museum - things to do in murano

The Murano Glass Museum is located on the “glass island” of Murano and is housed in an old palace. It showcases the evolution of glassmaking, with exhibits featuring everything from ancient Roman glassware to contemporary glass art. The museum’s collection is vast and varied, reflecting the rich history of Murano glass.

One of the highlights of the museum is the room dedicated to the glass of the 20th century, where you can see how Murano glass has evolved and adapted to modern tastes and techniques. You’ll also get to see the famous “all the glass island” exhibit, which showcases pieces from every glass factory on the island.

inside the museo del vetro murano - is murano worth it

Visiting the Murano Glass Museum gives you a deeper understanding and appreciation of Murano glass. It’s an experience that adds depth to your visit to the island of Murano. So, when you’re exploring the things to do in Murano, make sure the Museo del Vetro is at the top of your list!

2 – Glass Blowing Demonstration at Murano’s Glass Factories

Another must-do activity on Murano Island is to watch a glass blowing demonstration at one of the many glass factories on the island. Murano is world-renowned for its glassmaking, and seeing this art form in action is a truly unforgettable experience.

free glass blowing demonstration on murano - things to do in Murano

During a glass blowing demonstration, you’ll see the raw power and delicate finesse that goes into each piece of Murano glass. You’ll watch as a blob of molten glass transforms into a beautiful vase or a delicate figurine right before your eyes. 

Visiting a glass factory and watching a glass blowing demonstration is not just about seeing how Murano glass is made. It’s about experiencing the tradition, the passion, and the artistry that has made Murano a synonym for quality glass. It’s an experience that will give you a deeper appreciation for the beautiful pieces you see throughout the island.

make your own glass classes on murano

You can throw a stone in Murano in any direction and hit a glass factory that does demonstrations, so you can pretty much pop into one anywhere. I highly recommend the Wave Glass Factory for the demonstration and glass making class. It is very down to earth, doesn’t seem overly touristy, and there is no high-pressure sales pitch on the way out.

It feels like you are just popping into a warehouse and the guy making the glass is just doing his thing and letting you watch rather than a song and dance for the tourists.

Keep in mind that in August the factories are closed for their vacation. If you are traveling during that month, then you won’t be able to see any demonstrations. 

Pro Tip: If you are visiting Venice in December, then make sure to go to Murano to see a glass demonstration that includes a traditional Venetian meal cooked in the glass furnaces!

3 – Shopping for Authentic Venetian Glass

Shopping for authentic Venetian glass is an absolute must when visiting Murano. The island is home to countless glass shops, each offering a unique selection of beautiful, high-quality glass pieces. From intricate jewelry to stunning vases and sculptures, the variety of glass items available is truly astounding.

glass shopping in murano - things to do

Remember, when shopping for Venetian glass, it’s not just about buying a souvenir. It’s about bringing home a piece of Murano’s rich history and culture. So take your time, explore the fascinating glass shops, and find a piece that speaks to you.

Also, don’t worry about getting these delicate pieces home. The shop owners are experts at packing and shipping these items to you without them breaking. In fact, back in the old days, they used to pack the glass in boxes wrapped in seaweed from the lagoon! These days the packing material is less smelly and more effective. Just make sure to get insurance. 

My advice is to shop at the factory where you saw the demonstration as it helps them more directly. If you want to see more of a selection, then hit some of the shops away from the area where the vaporetti dock. The further you get from the areas around the docks and toward the glass museum the more authentic the experience will be and the higher quality the pieces also.

4 – Check out the Comet Star Sculpture

This sculpture has been removed! I am going to keep this section up to help people become aware of the fact that it is no longer there.

The Comet Star Sculpture is a striking landmark that adds a touch of modernity to the historic island. Made entirely of glass, the sculpture is a testament to the skill and creativity of Murano’s artisans. It’s a perfect example of how Murano’s glassmaking tradition continues to evolve and innovate.

The sculpture is located in a public area, so you can visit it at any time. It’s especially beautiful at night, when it’s illuminated and reflects the surrounding lights.

5 – Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato

A visit to Murano wouldn’t be complete without stepping into the Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato. This Roman Catholic church is one of the oldest and most significant landmarks on the island, known for its stunning architecture.

The Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato is a testament to the rich history of Murano. Its ornate facade is a striking example of the architectural style that flourished in Venice during the Middle Ages. As you approach the basilica, you’ll be struck by the intricate details of its exterior, from the patterned brickwork to the beautiful mosaics.

Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato under construction

Unfortunately, any visit that takes place in the next couple of years will be met with the scene pictured above. The church is undergoing major renovations to the exterior and is expected to last for a couple of years.

Inside, the basilica is just as impressive. The high ceilings, the stunning mosaics, and the sense of tranquility make it a must-visit spot in Murano. One of the highlights of the interior is the stunning Byzantine mosaic floor, which dates back to the 12th century.

Inside the Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato

There is also the curious oddity to see inside. By the alter you’ll see four gigantic bones suspended above. These are reputed to be the rib bones of a dragon slain by San Donato himself. 

Unfortunately, if you visit before the end of July 2023, you won’t be able to see the altar with the mosaics or the bones. It is undergoing a facelift to repair damage, but once it is done you will see it in its full glory. In the meantime, enjoy some of the mosaics on the floor such as figures of the dragon that Donato slayed. Also, a couple of crickets making love for some reason.

dragon mosaics on the floor of the basilica of san donato
mosaic of crickets makign love on floor of Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato

6 – Chiesa di San Pietro Martire

Another must-visit spot in Murano is the Chiesa di San Pietro Martire, or the Church of St. Peter Martyr. This historic church is a beautiful example of Venetian architecture and a significant part of Murano’s religious and cultural heritage.

exterior of san pietro martire murano - things to do

The Chiesa di San Pietro Martire is easily recognizable by its bell tower, one of the most iconic in Murano. The tower stands tall against the skyline, serving as a beacon for those exploring the island. It’s a beautiful sight, especially when it’s lit up in the evening.

The church itself is a stunning example of Venetian architecture. Its naked brick building is a testament to the simplicity and elegance of the local architectural style. Inside, the church is home to a number of excellent renaissance art works, including some by famous Venetian painters like Tintoretto and Bellini after whom the famous drink is named.

madonna and child from bellini in murano

7 – Relax in the Campo Santo Stefano

After exploring the glass factories and historic churches of Murano, take some time to relax in the Campo Santo Stefano. This charming square is the perfect place to take a break, soak up the atmosphere, and watch Murano’s daily life unfold with a glass of wine or the iconic Spritz.

clock tower in murano in campo santo stefano

Campo Santo Stefano is a hub of activity in Murano. It’s where locals come to chat, children play, and visitors rest their feet after a day of sightseeing. The square is surrounded by colorful buildings, adding to its charm and making it a picturesque spot for a rest or a picnic.

The views of the church of St Stephen’s church and a 19th century clock tower make it a perfect place to have a rest. It’s also where you’ll find the Comet Star sculpture so time your visit for that. 

8 – Visit the Palazzo da Mula

One of the hidden gems of Murano is the Palazzo da Mula, a historic palace that stands as a testament to the island’s rich history. This palace, with its ornate facade and beautiful Venetian gothic architecture, is a must-visit when you’re exploring Murano.

palazzo da mula things to do in murano

The Palazzo da Mula was once a luxurious summer residence for one of Venice’s noble families. Today, it’s one of the best-preserved examples of Gothic architecture on the island. The palace’s facade, with its large Gothic windows and detailed brickwork, is a uniquely Venetian sight to behold.

The view of the Palazzo da Mula, reflected in the water of the canal, is one of the most picturesque sights in Murano. Inside, there is a visitor center where you can see some exhibits about what life in the lagoon is like through a multimedia presentation.

9 – Visit the Parco Navagero

parco navagero for a picnic on murano

Truth be told, there is not a lot of green space in Venice proper. However, on Murano there is the beautiful oasis of the Parco Navagero. If you are visiting Venice with kids and plan a visit to watch the Venetian glass makers, make sure to take a break and let them blow off some steam at the well-equipped playground. 

It’s a great place to sit in the shade of a tree during the hot summer and even enjoy a picnic. Here is a map for the location.

How to Get to Murano from Venice

The public vaporetto (water bus) system, operated by Venice’s ATCV, offers regular ferry services between Venice and Murano. The journey can take anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes, depending on the route. 

The Fondamente Nove and San Michele stops are the most common departure points as they are closest to Murano Island. Alternatively, you can board the 4.1 and 4.2 vaporetto water taxis from the San Zaccaria stop near Piazza San Marco which takes longer. It is the only place where you can reach Murano if you want to visit there at night.

From Piazzale Roma near the Santa Lucia train station, you should look for Line 3 and Line 4.2 which will reach Murano within 21 and 40 minutes respectively.

An unlimited pass, available for 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, or 7 days, is the most cost-effective ticket option. However, these passes do not cover trips to Marco Polo Airport.

Key Vaporetto Stops on Murano

There are a number of stops on Murano. If you are pressed for time, check out the map below to understand which stop is closest to what you want to see on Murano and get off there. Otherwise, Get off at the first stop and enjoy a leisurely stroll along Murano’s own Grand Canal.

lighthouse for stops murano faro

These are the stops on Murano: 


From the Airport

Where to Eat in Murano

After a day of exploring the glass factories and historic sites of Murano, you’ll likely have worked up an appetite. Fortunately, Murano is home to a variety of dining options, from traditional Venetian trattorias to charming sidewalk cafes.

fried calamari on murano

One of the joys of visiting Murano is the chance to sample local cuisine. Seafood is a staple here, with dishes featuring fresh fish from the Venetian Lagoon. Pasta is also a must-try, with local variations that are sure to delight your taste buds.

Osteria Al Duomo

osteria al duomo where to eat in murano

If you are looking for pizza in Murano, the best place to get it is at the Osteria al Duomo. As the name suggests it sits within view of the Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato aka il Duomo of Murano. The food here is very traditional and is heavy on seafood as you would expect.

The prices are a bit on the high side considering the portion size, but the food is very good and the seafood is fresh. You can choose from a lot of traditonal Venetian specialties such as sarde in saor, liver and onions Venetian style, and even a mixed platter of fried or grilled fish from the lagoon.

There is a nice, shady garden patio in back where you can beat the heat while you eat.

Open Wed thru Mon 12–3 PM, 6:30–9:30 PM Closed Tuesday

Trattoria Valmarana

trattoria valmarana where to eat in murano

Right next to the Osteria al Duomo is the Trattoria Valamarana. If you are looking for something a bit upscale and with service to match then this is a good spot to try. The outside seating is cozy and artfully decorated with hanging glass from the local factories.

They’re very well known for their risotto, particularly the ones made with fish like the frutti di mare. Crab lovers will enjoy the baked crab. The baked monkfish is also very popular.

Open Tuesday thru Sunday 8 AM–4 PM Closed Monday

B Restaurant alla Vecchia Pescheria

osteria alla vecchia pescheria where to eat in murano

Close to the main area near the docks is a hidden gem tucked away on a small piazza. With loads of umbrellas and trees, the Vecchia Pescheria is a great spot to dine outside on some perfectly cooked Venetian specialties.

The linguine with scampi in a tomato sauce is a true delight for the palate. There are many more seafood pastas, but their lasagna al ragu is fantastic and a great departure from seafood.

Open Sun, Mon & Tue 11:30 AM–3:20 PM

Thursday thru Saturday 11:30 AM–3:20 PM, 6:30–9:15 PM

Closed Monday

Osteria ai Vetrai

osteria ai vetrai where to eat in murano

The food at the Osteria ai Vetrai is the real deal. They serve traditional Venetian dishes that a gondolier’s grandma would make like cuttlefish stewed in its own ink, a wonderful seafood stew with a light but fragrant tomato-based broth.

They also make some modern dishes when you feel like something different. Fish carpaccio with a lemon vinaigrette was on offer as were raw scampi when I dined there recently.

Open 7 Days 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM 7:00 PM – 11:59 PM

daily menu at ai vetrai

Osteria ai Cacciatori

osteria ai cacciatori where to eat in murano

If you have already spent a little bit of time in Venice then you know that there are traditional bars called bacari that served small plates of food similar to tapas called cicchetti. One of the best places to get cicchetti on Murano is called Osteria ai Cacciatori.

They have a small selection, but they are very fresh and continuously replenished throughout the day. It has the look and feel of a well worn pub where the locals also like to go for a beer or glass of wine with a snack.

Open 7 Days 6 AM–9 PM

cicchetti at ai cacciatori

Gelato di Natura

gelato di natura murano where to eat in murano

No visit to Venice, including Murano, would be complete with a gelato to take on a walk along the canals. Gelato di Natura is one of my favorite places to get gelato both in Venice proper and on Murano island.

They have a small selection, but they use quality ingredients and put a lot of care into their creations. The flavors taste real and not mass produced as a result.

Open Tuesday thru Sunday 8 AM–6 PM Closed Monday

Where to Stay on Murano

MURANO Suites BOUTIQUE Apartments

Shuttered Dreams Murano Venice

Hotel Conterie

DUOMO Murano Apartment with Canal view

Ca’ Laura – Murano Centro

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Murano FAQs

Is it possible to visit Murano and Burano in one day?

Yes, it’s possible to visit both Murano and Burano in one day as they are quite close to each other in the Venetian Lagoon. Make sure to leave Venice early to not only beat the crowds but because you will need a full day to visit both, Be aware that if you are taking the vaporetto back late in the afternoon, there will be a long line to get on. The wait will be over an hour to board during the height of the summer. 

What is the best time to visit Murano?

Murano can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit is during the spring (April-June) and fall (September-October) when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are smaller. The island can be quite busy during the summer tourist season.
December is also a great time to visit since the Christmas spirit is very much alive on Murano due to St Nicholas being the patron saint of the glass blower.

How much time do I need to properly explore Murano?

The amount of time needed to explore Murano can vary depending on your interests. However, a half-day (about 3 to 4 hours) is usually sufficient to visit a glass factory, watch a glass-blowing demonstration, explore some of the island’s historic sites, and do a bit of shopping. If you plan to visit the Murano Glass Museum or want to take your time exploring the various shops and galleries, you might want to allocate a full day to your visit.

Wrapping It Up

Murano, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and world-renowned glassmaking tradition, is a destination that promises a unique and memorable experience. Whether you’re watching a mesmerizing glass factory demonstration, exploring the charming streets, or simply soaking up the serene beauty of the Venetian Lagoon, there are so many things to do in Murano that cater to a variety of interests.

Sal Presti

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