Torcello — about a half hour by boat from the main island — was one of the first places where mainlanders settled. Dating from the 7th century, this is the oldest church in the lagoon. Venice is famous for its glass, for centuries blown here on the island of Murano. If you don’t have a Venetian friend with a boat, water taxis zip quickly from island to island, while regular ferryboats connect Venice with neighboring lagoon communities in a more relaxed and less-expensive way. Stay, and wander Burano’s back lanes for a peaceful slice of the Venetian lagoon most visitors miss.