The island of Burano with it’s eye popping color, rests quietly in the Venetian lagoon. Known for it’s lace making and colorful buildings, Burano is a short vaporetto (water bus) ride from Venice.
Thought to have been settled by the Romans in the 6th century, Burano received little attention until the women of the island began making lace in the 16th century. When Leonardo da Vinci purchased a cloth for the main altar of the Duomo di Milano, the lace making industry of Burano took off.
Nothing like having a celebrity back your product.
Today Burano boasts many shops selling lace although few make the lace in the traditional ways as it is tremendously time consuming and thus extraordinarily expensive.
We had come for the colors and a bit of peace from the tourism of high season Venice. The government strictly regulates the paint colors of buildings. One must put in a request to the powers at be for approval before setting up a ladder and paintbrush.
Standing in Burano, with sunglasses firmly planted on my face, I found it hard to imagine that any color request had ever been turned down. Maybe I just don’t get the system. Whatever it be, Burano is beautiful and often missed by tourists who head to the trendier island of Murano for it’s hand made glass.
One of the only non colorful buildings is the San Martino Church. As if trying to mimic it’s Italian neighbor, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the the 53 meter bell tower can be seen from anywhere on Burano.
It is not uncommon to see people gazing at the tower with a slight kink in their neck while they try to decide if it is just them or the tower that is off kilter.
An angel once topped the tower but after a severe storm in 1867 the poor angel took flight. An iron cross now sits in it’s place, hopefully more secure than it’s winged predecessor.
How do I get to Burano?
Sitting in the Northern Venetian Lagoon, Burano is a 45 minute boat ride from Venice. You can book full and half day tours from Venice but the most cost effective way is to use the public transport local ferry system. More information on transportation options can be found here.
What activities can I do in Burano?
One of the main draws to Burano are the brilliant colors of the buildings of Burano reflecting in the green waters. Be sure to bring your camera and did I mention some sunglasses?
There are many lace making shops and other local gift shops to explore. Restaurants serve fresh fish dishes. Try the most famous “risotto de gò“, made from the local goby fish. If you are just wanting a snack you can easily find delicious gelato or cookies. In the main square you will find “Museo del Merletto” (the lace museum).
Special considerations for a visit to Burano
Burano is a quieter, laid back island. If you are looking for an action packed tour Burano is not a good choice. However if you love strolling surrounded by vibrant colors this wee island is a do not miss spot. Just don’t forget your sunglasses. Perhaps I mentioned that earlier.