When we arrived at 11:00 at the Port of Chioggia, located on the Delta of the River Po, about 25kms by boat south of the metropolitan area of Venice, we had to wait approximately an hour as there was an unusually low tide. Cruise ships may no longer dock in the lagoon of Venice itself as they are considered too large for the canals and lagoon berths. This did mean a lot of our time was spent on boats getting to other islands we had arranged to visit and to our hotel the next day.
Port of Chioggia
On the pier of Chiaggio to welcome us was a group of men and women clad in traditional dress. Until the 19th century, women in Chioggia wore an outfit based on an apron which could be raised to serve as a veil. Men wore dresses which were either close-fitting or loose from the shoulders down. Over the centuries the name of the town changed up to 4 times, finally named Chioggia in the 6th Century AD. It was involved in the Venetian war with Genoa and came under the full control of Venice in 1412. It also had a good relationship with Šibinek in Croatia.
Once we had docked, we were able to begin disembarking to go on our chosen excursions. We, ourselves, had booked to visit the islands of Murano and Burano. The Lagoon of Venice which lies between the mouths of the Po and Piave Rivers and has about 20 islands more than half of which are populated. Murano and Burano are 2 of these and, we later learned, that our hotel was situated on its own island. From the ship we were taken on to a boat, which turned out to be very noisy, took almost 1½ hours to get us to Murano 54kms away. On the way we passed a monastery, lovely homes of different colours, a cemetery and a number of fire towers. Venice and all the islands are prone to fires which spread quickly so most have their own fire towers.
As we approached the Island of Murano, which is famous for its Venetian Glass manufacturing we saw a tall tower leaning to one side. It was explained that, in the 1960s, the ground beneath it sank causing the tower to lean. It is now often referred to as the Leaning Tower of Murano. On arrival, we were taken to the glass factory which was the former Chiesa di Santa Chiara or Church of St Claire or Clara, where we started with a presentation in the furnace room. One glazier made the most beautiful prancing horse. It, obviously, was extremely hot in there and we were each given bottles of water, as many as we wanted. The presentation lasted about 15mins and then we were invited to go upstairs to the sale room. The glass work was quite exquisite but also very expensive. Downstairs was the Bargain Shop where the cheapest item, a tiny animal was 30 Euros so we didn’t buy any. At the rear of the factory, where the offices were, was a fountain made entirely of glass with the exception of the support and water tubing.
Leaning tower of Murano
We were then given a half hour to wander around the town to see the shops in the Main Street and to visit the church. What was special about visiting the church was, not so much its beauty as was the case with so many others we had seen, but the silence observed by all the visitors made it a wonderful opportunity to just sit and ponder or meditate.
We then reboarded the boat and travelled for 25mins to the island of Burano, famous for its hand-made lace. We were told that each item could take up to 6 persons to create as each women did a different stitch. We watched an elderly woman working on a cloth. She was bent over and appeared to be short-sighted and took no interest in us at all. This visit lasted less than 5mins, with the exception of those who went upstairs to the sale room and a number of them made purchases. In a square near the lace shop was a statue of Baldassare Galuppi, a composer born in Burano.
Once again, we had half an hour to discover the small town which was rather more interesting than Murano. At the end of the main street of Burano was a canal with several boats moving up and down or just berthed on the side. There were homes all along the canal of different shapes, sizes and colours and some had the washing hanging out of the windows.
We left the island at 7:30pm to return to the ship where we arrived an hour and a half later. We had been out for over 7 hours and were disappointed that we had not been offered any refreshments, so it was fortunate that the dining room on the ship had been kept open for ourselves and a couple of other excursion groups.
We had to finish packing and have our suitcases outside our stateroom by 23:00 as we would be disembarking the next morning and would be taken to an hotel where we would spend the next 2 nights. This was part of the cruise as had been the 2 nights in Rome at the beginning of the cruise.