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The islands of Venice, mysterious beauties of the Lagoon

Whether on foot or by boat, Venice is more than just a day trip! Centuries of history and traditions unfold as you relax with a glass of wine and cicchetti. Hiddenist invites you on a spiritual journey through the Venice lagoon and its islands, cherished havens where we retreat to unwind. Each island, from Burano to Torcello, Murano to Mazzorbo, possesses its own unique world and identity, offering a fresh perspective on the City of Masks away from the tourist crowds.

Juliana Angotti, founder of Hiddenist, on the island of Mazzorbo near Venice

Behind the Venice postcard: Burano, island of fishermen

Burano is famous for lacemaking and colorful houses, but it’s so much more than that! This island is all about traditions. Local fishermen still live for the most part as they did centuries ago. At dawn, the men sell their catch in the farmers market of Venice, while the women stay on land, skillfully repairing fishing nets – a craft passed down for generations.

Unfortunately, the Venice lagoon has faced significant challenges in recent decades due to mass tourism, the presence of large cruise ships, and the effects of climate change. The resources are getting more and more scarce and the number of fishermen in Burano has dwindled. In hopes of changing their lifestyle, they’ve started collaborations with Michelin star chefs such as Chiara Pavan, known for her environmentally minded cuisine and respect for the Venice lagoon, or Norbert Niederkofler and his "Cooking Lagoon" concept, aiming to promote sustainable practices and support local traditions.

Others have turned to ecotourism, to offer travellers a different view of the lagoon and spread awareness of its fragile ecosystem through boat tours and explorations. This slow travel trend is a nice step away from the selfie craze of places like Caffè Florian or the Doge’s Palace.

Hiddenist proudly partners with Domenico, a fisherman who now offers tours of the "waters of Burano". This exceptional experience aboard his own boat is offered to only a few select guests. Domenico’s intimate knowledge of the lagoon’s ecosystem, passed down through generations, gives a fresh perspective on island life, far from all the touristic clichés of Venice.

Burano, one of Venice's most well-known islands, with its colourful houses

Wine & dine on Mazzorbo Island

Mazzorbo is a hidden gem in the lagoon, exuding a serene and gentle atmosphere imbued with a fascinating culinary heritage and wine traditions. The island has quintessential rural charm, home to a famous vineyard that yields world-class vintages, benefiting from the splendid Venetian sun and gentle sea breeze.

In 2002, famed Prosecco producer Gianluca Bisol discovered something invaluable - the last remaining 25 grapevine plants of a legendary vintage: the Dorona. Cultivated for centuries by the Most Serene Republic of Venice to produce the wine served at the Doge’s Palace, this vine variety had almost disappeared since the "acqua alta" flooding of 1966. The Bisol family made it their mission to bring these precious grapes of the Venetian Lagoon back to life. The result? The renowned Dorona di Venezia vintage, a remarkable golden nectar that you can enjoy at Chiara Pavan’s restaurant, Venissa.

In her Michelin-starred restaurant, Chiara Pavan and her brigade draw inspiration from the rich gastronomic heritage of the Venice region and make a point to help preserve the Venetian Lagoon and honor the vegetable garden and local producers of Mazzorbo. This charming yet quiet island has become a favorite spot of foodies worldwide.

The serene charm of Torcello island

Located north of the Lagoon, Torcello offers a peaceful and charming escape from the bustling tourist crowds of Venice. While it now has only a dozen residents, centuries ago it served as a refuge for those fleeing invaders, boasting over ten thousand inhabitants in the 10th century. Today, its tranquil streets starkly contrast with its turbulent past.

Throughout the island, you'll discover stunning historical treasures such as the famed Locanda Cipriani, Ernest Hemingway’s residence in 1948; the Santa Maria Assunta cathedral, a 7th-century marvel adorned with remarkable Byzantine mosaics hidden behind its unassuming facade; and the Devil’s Bridges constructed in the 15th century. Once you disembark from the vaporetto boat, there's only one path to explore it all.

Torcello is also renowned as the birthplace of two iconic Venetian delicacies: carpaccio and the Bellini cocktail. Indulge in both amidst the cozy garden of Villa 600, a restaurant highly recommended by chef Chiara Pavan. Venetian families gather at expansive white-clothed tables, dressed in their finest attire, savoring impeccable service - a pure delight!

An exclusive experience: a private cruise to Venice's undiscovered islands

Sant’ Erasmo of Venice, the island-garden

Deep in the heart of the Laguna, Sant’ Erasmo is the second largest island around La Serenissima. The quiet counterpart of the busy Murano, it is known for its agriculture. Dubbed "garden of Venice", this peculiar island boasts fertile soil that yields an abundance of exceptionally flavored fruits and vegetables.

Every day, its produce graces the stalls of the renowned Rialto Market. From purple artichokes to grape must, asparagus, and honey from the salt marshes, the market offers a selection of distinctive items curated by expert producers, making it a must-visit culinary destination. Michel Thoulouze, for instance, is a former French journalist who now produces an excellent white wine, Orto di Venezia.

Beyond its culinary delights, Sant’ Erasmo boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage. The Maximilian Tower, a 19th-century relic of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a rarity in Italy, now serves as a venue for art exhibitions and events, honoring its cultural legacy. Personally, I cherish Sant’ Erasmo and often return for leisurely bike rides amidst its tranquil surroundings. With the warm and salty wind in my hair, under the Italian sun: what a feeling!

The garden island of Sant'Erasmo in the Venetian lagoon

Murano, a marvel of glass and churches 

Murano is the star of the Venetian Lagoon islands, seducing us with the picturesque appeal of its canals, houses full of colors and lively piazze. Murano is much more than a tourist destination though: it’s the capital of Venetian craftsmanship.

Renowned for its glass-making traditions dating back to the Middle Ages, Murano is a global hub for the art of glass. Master glassmakers have perfected ancestral techniques in blowing and molding, creating distinctive pieces that make Murano famous worldwide. Places like Berengo Studio, Micheluzzi Glass, and Wave Murano preserve the blueprints for extraordinary works such as Murano glass chandeliers. These coveted designs are safeguarded in safes, with only a select few Masters possessing the skill to bring them to life—a testament to an exceptional savoir-faire passed down from Master to apprentice.

Murano not only hosts the Glass Museum but also boasts one of the oldest churches in the Lagoon: the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato, located alongside the San Donato canal. This basilica is renowned for its stunning mosaic tiling, reminiscent of the artwork found in St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.


Hop aboard a vaporetto boat to discover the myriad treasures of the Venetian islands: the grand Giudecca, facing Piazza San Marco; Poveglia, known as the island of poplar trees; or the barrier island called Lido, which separates the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea—a sunlit paradise perfect for a refreshing summer breeze. Each island, each canal, contributes to the splendor of this magnificent archipelago.

These islands offer a glimpse into the genuine Venice, moving beyond tourist clichés to reveal a simpler, more authentic city—a sanctuary where history, gastronomy, and traditions harmonize beautifully. Uncover these hidden gems, off the beaten path, in these "small patches of land" that unveil the true soul of La Serenissima.


Discover the island of Venice with Hiddenist journeys

In our two Chef’s Escape itineraries, crafted in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Chiara Pavan, you'll stay overnight on the tranquil islands of Burano or Mazzorbo. Enjoy a delightful dinner at Venissa, savor a private tasting of the globally acclaimed Dorona wine, and experience an exclusive boat tour of the lagoon guided by a local Burano fisherman.

Our 4-day or 7-day journeys offer many more experiences away from the tourist crowds. Through partnerships with local craftsmen, we open the doors to Venetian workshops and curate exceptional gastronomic journeys.

Immerse yourself in the world of Chiara Pavan and join her in preserving the natural wonders of the lagoon. At Hiddenist, we share her commitment to Earth's fragility and aspire for Venice to endure eternally.



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