see + do
Concierge.com's insider take:
Punctuating the lagoons around Venice are a few islets that are well worth visiting—and they can all be reached by vaporetto. Torcello was a city long before Venice itself (though it's hard to imagine this empty, atmospheric marsh had a 14th-century population of 20,000). All that remains now, apart from a handful of houses, is the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, home to some spectacular 11th- and 12th-century mosaics, and a campanile offering peerless views over the northern lagoon.
Burano (pictured) was once an island of lace-makers. Though only a few artisans keep the craft alive today, it's remembered in the Museo del Merletto in the main piazza, Galuppi (39-041-730-034). The most striking thing about Burano is its brightly painted houses; locals claim the tradition began so that fishermen could spot their homes easily (although most of Burano's dwellings aren't visible from the lagoon).
Glassblowing is the famous specialty on bustling Murano, where all the city's furnaces were transferred in the 13th century to curb outbreaks of fire. Among the factory-made glass tack and the lines of tourists taking showroom tours, there are some true glass artists still working their molten-sand miracles here. There's also a stunningly beautiful painting by Giovanni Bellini in the church of San Pietro Martire, and a fascinating glimpse into the world of glassblowing in the Museo dell'Arte Vetrario (39-041-739-586).