When growing tired of Venice there is more to explore outside the small city. To the north you have the islands San Michele, Murano, Burano, Torcello and San Fransesco del Deserto. And to the south there is very many small islands but also Lido which hold the public beach of Venice.
My partner and I visited Lido and Murano in one day where the public beach of Venice being the target. Before going we packed our bathing suit and had lunch at a random square for around 30 euros.
From our hotel we walked to the St Marcus square and the busboats that take of from there. We bought a one day ticket 24 hours for all public transport in Venice and hopped on.
Arriving in Lido you just have to walk across the island. Since Lido is long and small this isn’t a problem, a five minute walk and you are there. On the way you find water fountains typical for Italy to fill your bottle with fresh cold water.
”If you’re the sort of person who regards access to the sea as a God-given right , then you’ll have to content yourself with the ungroomed public beaches at the northern and southern ends of the island – though why anyone should want to jeopardise his or her health in the filthy waters of this stretch of the Adriatic is one of the great imponderables.” Is to be read on page 211 of the Venice rough guide from 93. I giggled a little when reading it since it seemed a bit exaggerated, and In the end it wasn’t true anymore. Today the public beach is in the middle of the island and is just fine health wise. It is filled with people and you have to share space, but after the night train to Venice everything feels like a peace of cake.
After taking a dip in the Adriatic we strolled around the island, going east along Via Dardanelli.
When getting closer to the hospital on the map we realise that it is closed. What a surprise when finding an abandoned hospital! According to the suspicious signs, it is closed because it is something unhealthy/ poison here. We peek through the gate and I shot some photos. My imagination is spinning away and I just wanted to get a hold of a working wifi to read more, the information I have available is the rough guide and according to this there is a number of closed hospitals on other islands as well.
Taking a left turn at the Hospital and then another left when on the other side of the hospital you find a Jewish cemetery on Via Cipro. It is not aloud to take photos there so yet again we peeke through the gate. It is aloud to go in though.
After taking this little detour on Lido we arrive at the St Nicola boat stop and hop on the boat to Murano from here.
1276 Murano became self governed and by the 16 th century it had 30.000 inhabitants, a summer retreat for the Venice upper class. In 1291, the glass furnaces of the Venetian glass industry was moved here as a safety measure to assure that the secrets of the tradition where kept safe. For several hundred years the glass blowers couldn’t leave the island and if doing so hunted down and treated as traitors.
When arriving in late afternoon around 17 the first thing Martin and I notice is the empty streets. There is basically no one there. We discuss it and conclude that they must be in the centre. Having a pizza for 3 euros by the Grand Canal of Murano we continue to what appears to be the centre but there is even less people there. A special feeling occurs when strolling streets that is this empty, like you are alone in the world.
Even though Murano was empty it was worth a visit, or maybe even more so since you get the change to be alone for a while. The glass from the Venezian industries can be bought on either Murano or the Venice island so of you just want to buy the glass you probably don’t need to go here.
After strolling for an hour we decide to take the boat back. Instead of going to St Marcus square we decide to jump of at the north side, seeing the island San Michele from the shore.
Looking back the islands was very intriguing and I want to go back and explore the hospital islands in the future and maybe more abandoned in Italy, the photographers dream.
Source: Some facts is from Venice – the rough guide by Jonathan Buckley and Hilary Robinson