The Venetian Lagoon is dotted with islands, each with its own history, heritage and charm. We explore three islands today, starting off fairly early by boarding a privately chartered boat to take us from the centre of Venice, along the shallow channels to the island of Torcello. We've arranged for the Basilica in Torcello to be opened early, and we enjoy a private visit, with Susan Steer, our local art historian. Quite magical!
Just 5 minutes walk from the Basilica, we discover the delightful Cipriani hotel, where we enjoy a coffee break, with biscuits and the most tasty croissants!
Next stop is the island of Mazzorbo. Here we're dropped off directly outside the local winery! We visit the walled vineyard and enjoy a tasting in the wonderful surroundings of Venissa Wine Estate, which is devoted to making wine with Dorona grapes, which tolerate the salt air, and the occasional saltwater bath during very high tides. The wine is a luscious golden colour. Bottles of half a litre, have a gold leaf label and are hand numbered. Approximately 4,000 bottles are produced per harvest, and the bottle price is from around £125 each.
Our final visit is to the island of Burano. A popular destination, the homes and cottages are brightly painted, and the island is well-known for the tradition of lace-making.
Mid-afternoon we embark our private boat shuttle, for the sail back across the Venitian Lagoon, to rejoin our ship, River Countess. The sun is shining and it has been a wonderful day. Time for cocktails on the top deck!