The glass factories on Murano take would-be buyers by water taxi from San Marco for a short demonstration of glass blowing.
This is worth a trip anyway, plus it's worthwhile wandering around the shops.
The only catch is that you'll get the sales pitch from the staff on the way out. The prices here are ridiculously high. You can buy exactly the same glassware outside the factory for less. So just stiffen up your lip and walk on out.
Ask at your hotel or look out for agents early in the morning at San Marco.
The water taxi office at the airport is usually surrounded by tourists wondering whether their magical trip to Venice is quite so magical now they've found out just how expensive the water taxis are.
The cost of the trip is the cost for the whole boat, so just go ahead and ask "Does anyone want to share a taxi?" Even if split between just two couples the cost rapidly becomes less eye-watering.
The water taxi office is located with the car rental offices at the south end of the arrivals area.
Details of transfers are available from the Corsozio Motoscafi website: www.motoscafivenezia.it/trans.htm
Seven traghetto (ferry) points between the railway station and San Marco allow you to cross the Grand Canal without having to squeeze over the bridges. These decommissioned gondolas ply back and forth until dusk for 60c a trip. Venetians make the crossing standing up. Tourists sit down and worry about the rocking motion.
Look out for small yellow signs pointing down alleys leading to the Canal.
The island of Torcello lies across the lagoon from Venice about 10km north as the crow flies (or halibut swims). There is a regular vaparetto (water bus) leaving from the Paglia Bridge near St Mark’s Square, which makes stately progress by way of Murano and Burano. This is not, although it sounds a bit like it, some kind of skittish homage to a well-known catchphrase of Mr Vic Reeves. It is, in fact, another pair of islets in the lagoon. Murano is famous for its glassware and tourists can readily purchase various knick-knacks and baubles. However these trinkets are - almost without exception - of hideous aspect and exorbitant cost and can safely be left to the Americans.
A convivial night culminating in us making short work of a large bottle of brandy meant that we missed the hourly Sunday morning vaparetto we were aiming for so, with a lunchtime table booked at the splendid Cipriani’s restaurant on Torcello, we hopped on to a water taxi. These little speedboats are, inevitably, a lot more pricey that the water bus but, on a crisp, clear autumn morning, as we bounced across the silver-blue waters of the lagoon, the exhilaration of the ride more than made up for the expense. And certainly did a lot to assuage any cognac-induced greenness around the gills.
Such was our air of wellbeing that we did not mind at all when the water taxi-driver insouciantly handed over control of the speeding craft to his 10-year-old son. The look of benign, paternal content on the father’s face as his nipper hurtled us across the deep brought to mind the dog in the Tom and Jerry cartoons (‘Spike’ was it?) with his indulgent chuckle of “That’s my boy!” as his yapping offspring chased Tom up a tree.
If you go in October or November, take a boat ride in the early morning from Lido back into Venice and watch the light of the water play with the spires and domes. If it's been foggy - all the better. Venice will appear out of the mirage.
When you arrive at the airport you have the option of taking a bus, water taxi or an "Alilaguna" boat to Venice. (Alilaguna is the name of the operator.) Especially if you have never been to Venice before, this is a magical way catch your first glimpse of it, unless you are happy and able to pay around £50 for a water taxi. The boat goes round the islands, finally stopping at the Arsenale and San Marco.
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