Known for water, romance, the rats in Indiana Jones and tourists being fleeced.
I treated my wife to the trip as a birthday treat, partly to make up for last years gifts which included a lovely of a pair of socks.. and also so we could marvel at the Queen of the Adriatic first-hand.
Getting to Murano
We stayed on the island of Murano, which is known for its glass making history.
Murano has many glass shops and there’s a still quite a large number of furnaces which run regular, free demonstrations to see how glass blowing is done. They make it look easy.
To get to the Legare Hotel Venezia, the journey is simple – a spirited water-taxi ride straight from the airport’s dock.
Taking around 10-15 minutes, it’s probably the quickest, easiest and most fun transfer I’ve ever had.
It certainly beats dragging your case around Venice whilst hot and bothered.
The hotel is set amongst walls of what was once one of Murano’s many furnaces where the glass was once made.
Everything is very modern, clean with generous sound-proofed rooms. The room was large and set over two levels. Cool.
A bottle of Prosecco on ice with a note wishing my wife a happy birthday was a great touch and the right way to begin our stay.
Dining on Murano
Murano is a lot quieter than Venice, with only a small amount of tourists being day trippers.
Boats around the lagoon are frequent to and from Murano, and easy once you get the hang of using them. With a two-day pass, it was easy to travel around the islands and fit a lot in during a mini-break.
However, the evening we arrived, we decided to stay and eat on Murano itself. Osteria al Duomo fit the bill perfectly, with a large garden area for al fresco dining.
The large menu was packed with a wide array of traditional Venetian dishes.
The aperitif of choice in Venice is Aperol Spritz. A bright reddish-orange, bittersweet concoction served with a single olive and wedge of orange.
We opted to share a seafood platter and follow that up with an aubergine pizza.
Juicy Italian tomatoes were the star of the show, from the base of the seafood sauce to the pizza.
The meal was finished off with a slice of the lightest Tiramsu and a shot of Limoncello. I left a happy man.
A Venetian Tasting Menu
For my wife’s birthday, I booked up L’Osteria di Santa Marina, a restaurant in the Castello district in Venice.
The boats around the lagoon are frequent, and easy once you get the hang of using them. With a two-day pass, it was easy to travel around the Islands and fit a lot in during three days.
With this in mind it was easy to get boats several times in a day between Venice and Murano to over for dinner.
An 8-course tasting menu appealed, especially when starting with Tuna tataki – one of our favourite dishes.
After some warm, delicious focaccia, the menu started with an amuse-bouche of local delicacies. Fried shrimps, croquette and a mini pizza.
For drinks, we started with some Prosecco as an aperitif, then opted for a half-bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to pair with the menu. This was followed later in the meal with a bottle of Valpolicella Ripasso.
The meal when progressed with the well presented Tuna dish. The gazpacho dish was the highlight of the meal for me, with intense tomato working very well with the creamed cod and glazed prawn.
I was most concerned about the cold spaghetti course, but it was very good indeed. In fact for me the risotto, eel were the least memorable courses.
Here’s a slideshow of the menu:
Where to Cool Off in Venice
Getting lost around the pretty maze-like streets of Venice can be a lot of fun, but you can also overheat.
Cooling off with some gelato makes a lot of sense. The best I found was at Grom, but Suso was also a good experience.
If you love your beer and cannot afford the best Italian wine, the take a stroll to Il Santo Bevitore.
This pub off Strada Nova, near to Grom, this ‘pub’ has a huge choice of Italian craft beer, as well as many famed Belgian beers on tap, like Chimay.
If you prefer wine and want a good people-watching spot with excellent food, then look no further than La Cantina. The service is direct, efficient and the chef can provide what you need. seafood like oysters are a good bet if you are feeling flush.
A trip to Italy would not be complete without a manic journey back, which involved last-minute ferries, broken down water taxis and delayed flights.
But that’s Italy for you, and I would not want it any other way!