|Glass flowers climb the wall of a glass factory in Murano, Italy.|
|Sunset at sea.|
The passage from Pula, Croatia to Venice was about 11 hours from start to finish. We tied up at the marina on Certosa island and set off to check in. There are only two marinas in Venice that are able to take catamarans, and Certosa appealed to us as it is like a nature preserve with all the wildlife and tranquility.
|Nature trail at Certosa marina.|
We caught the vaporetto (water bus) to the Pl. Roma stop and walked across the bridge to the red building on the right, the State Polizia station. We filled out a one page form, handed over our passports, and five minutes later were on our way. They did not give a Constituto di Arrivo, as we had read about. I guess it is different in each port, but it made for a quick to check out later on.
|Checking in with the authorities for passport stamps and boat permit.|
We spent the next two weeks exploring Venice and the surrounding islands. Quite a wondrous place, with so much history and architecture. Definitely take advantage of the family museum pass, where you can visit many of the museums for one low price. The easiest and cheapest way to get around is by purchasing the city unlimited ride pass for 7 days. It paid for itself by the 2nd day, as we were constantly going to different stops around the islands to explore different things. Taking a regular water taxi would have cost 80 euro one way for our family, and the vaporetto was only a few dollars, if you worked out the math.
Lido is a long island, nicknamed the Golden Island, due to the sandy beaches. It has a lot of shops and a large Conad grocery store near the vaporetto station. One main chandlery is about a 45 minute walk, so take your dinghy through their main canal if you want to visit that shop.
Murano is nicknamed the Glass Island, due to all the glass being made there. According to legend, all of the glass makers were forced to move there due to risk of fires in Venice. It is home to many glass factories and you can tour them and see for yourself how the glass is made. They do close down in August, but we were fortunate to catch one of the factories offering tours. There are quite a few art installations of beautiful glass-work all over the island. Popping out from hedges was some green glass flowers, a large blue glass globe was in the town square, and many small details appear along the way as you walk along. The artists have done a brilliant job integrating their glass art with nature.
Burano is the Lace Island, and you can find all sorts of beautiful handmade lace items. It is about a 45 minute ride away from main Venice though, so plan accordingly.
Venice is made up of many islands close together. It sort of resembles a fish, if you use your imagination a bit.
We visited Doge's Palace in San Marco's square, next to the Basilica. This place is huge and you need at least a full day to explore everything.
Long ago, it was a castle with towers and moats. After several fires (700 years ago) it was rebuilt into a magnificent palace, like lace out of stone. Every inch is decorated with either delicate stonework or painted scenes and statutes.
The government was housed here as well and there are many chambers leading through to others. It houses the famous Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners had their last glimpse at the outside world before facing their judgements.
|Bridge of Sighs outer view and from the inside.|
After eating way too much delicious food and gelato, we found ourselves sailing back into Croatia for navigating south through the islands. We took a week to do this, as we needed to make tracks south to Greece for a quick visit with friends, before heading west to Italy and beyond.
Next up: we sail back through Croatia and encounter the Croatian coast guard while trying to exit their waters.