Hotels Venice
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Murano - Murano is the best-known of Venice's surrounding islands. It lies approximately half a mile north of Venice, to which it is linked by a fast and regular waterbus service. Murano's chief source of wealth was -and, indeed, still is - fine glassware. The first glassworks were established along a canal named the Rio dei Vetrai (Glassmakers Canal). Over the centuries, Murano glass factories developed a wide variety of techniques and glasswares of all types, ranging from delicate crystal, diamondpoint engraving, gold-leaf decorations, Renaissance ice-glass, vetro a reticello (a type of filigree glass) and the eighteenth-century lattimo (milk glass). Mosaic glass, mirrors and glass beads have added to the fame of Murano wares. Today, ever-inventive master glassmakers continue to create outstanding glassware, using colour with verve and imagination. Regular public waterbuses to and from Venice, the islands of Burano and Torcello, and the Cavallino seaside resorts, make Murano easily accessible. Burano - Burano, which once fell under the jurisdiction of Torcello, has earned worldwide fame for its exquisite lace. A natural offshoot of the embroidery technique in which white thread was stitched onto white fabric, lacemaking began in the early sixteenth century. Venice rapidly became an important centre of lacemaking, renowned chiefly for its distinctive "punto in aria" stitch. Fishing is another source of livelihood for this small island, with its gailypaint-ed houses and verdant gardens. A waterbus may be taken from Burano to the nearby island of San Francesco del Deserto, a powerfully evocative heaven of peace and undisturbed wildlife Set in the heart of the island, hidden by cyprus trees, are a fourteenth-century church and a monastery occupied by a handful of Franciscan friars. Burano is easily reached from Venice by public waterbus. Torcello - The third of Venice's best-known islands, Torcello, lies a short boatride away from Burano, on the other side of the Mazzorbo Canal. Eternally popular with tourists, Torcello is a charming islet, carpeted with green meadows and still redolent of a bygone age. In distant times, Torcello was a revered and prosperous city. The memory of Torcello's former glory lives on in a few important buildings -the Cathedral, the church of Santa Fosca and a belltower commanding a superb view across the lagoon. Inside the Cathedral, which, according to an inscription, was founded in 639, a number of mosaics have survived; particularly impressive works are a Last Judgement, and, in the cove of the apse, a portrait of the Virgin, set against a gold background. The Museum of the Lagoon, containing a large number of objects of historical and artistic interest, is housed in the Archives and Council buildings.