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Can a small island brighten your day? This one certainly can. Join me and explore Burano, an island off Venice in the northern part of the Venetian lagoon.
Of all the towns with colorful houses in Italy (and there are quite a few!) Burano is surely the prettiest. Facing each other across small canals, each of its buildings is painted different colors of the rainbow.
Burano on the Venetian Lagoon
Since before the Venetian Republic, Burano was home to fishermen and legend says that the houses were painted in bright hues so they could see their way home when fog blanketed the lagoon.
I love the way light bounces of the the walls in this town. The houses look like they have been painted a pastel hue in soft light and as the shadows move they become more vibrant.
The coloured houses are protected by law, so if you are a home owner in Burano Venice and want to change your sage green walls to a brighter shade of turquoise, you must apply to the government for approval.
The small island is home to 3,000 people who now mainly work in tourism related industries but who also proudly continue their lacemaking tradition as well as fishing.
And photogenic displays of washing it seems. I don’t know about you, but my laundry has never looked this good.
Burano lace dates back to 1500 and according to local lore was said to be inspired by a foam veil made by the swish of a mermaid’s tail. I don’t even care if that’s true, what a romantic notion!
As you can imagine the lace is delicate and each piece is made by five lacemakers, each specialising in a particular aspect of the design. You can learn more about Venetian lacemaking at the Lace Museum on Piazza Baldassarre Galuppi, 187. Open 10:00 – 17:00 except on Mondays.
What to do in Burano
Burano is the perfect place to simply wander and soak up the atmosphere. The narrow waterways, bridges and small piazzas lined with rainbow houses are so delightful. Everyone seems to smile in Burano.
As in Venice, most visitors stick to the main streets and side canals close by so you are well rewarded by taking yourself off down small laneways and across a pretty bridge to find a quiet moment away from the crowded thoroughfares.
The ultimate photographer’s dream, you could spend days finding new angles and light to shoot on this most colorful of islands. I even spotted a black cat lounging on a doorstop of a pink house. Sadly I wasn’t quick enough to capture the moment before he slinked away.
Once you have meandered the little island and browsed the shops and boutiques, discover the local cuisine. The pace is slower in Burano and if ever there was a place to linger canal-side over a long lunch, this is it.
Restaurants in Burano
It wont surprise you that Burano is famous for seafood. And the most popular place to eat seafood in Burano is Trattoria al Gatto Nero on Via Giudecca 88. I haven’t eaten there but I have heard it is wonderful from my parents and chef Jamie Oliver. Both have excellent taste. Their signature dish is a risotto made with ghiozzi – a fish from the lagoon. Bookings highly recommended.
Trattoria da Romano at Via Galuppi, 221 is also famous for risotto. For many generations they have served their squid ink risotto to hungry locals and visiting tourists. Some even say it is the best risotto ever made.
For pizza try Trattoria Leon Coronato at Piazza Galupi 314. We enjoyed our lunch at this family run restaurant. The signora in charge is very kind and efficient.
How to get to Burano from Venice
You will need to set aside at least half a day to explore Burano and the other Venice islands in the northern lagoon – Murano and Torcello.
The number 12 vaporetto line leaves from San Zaccaria near San Marco and takes around 45 minutes. One way fares on the vaporetto water bus were €7.50 in September 2017 so a day pass at €20 is the most cost effective way to visit the islands.
Fancy taking a water taxi? The cost from Piazza San Marco is around €130 one way
Another option is to take a tour of the islands near Venice. I think this is the easiest way to visit the islands if you are short on time as the tour guides will work to the vaporetto schedules.
More information, times and prices – Boat Trip: Glimpse of Murano, Torcello and Burano Islands
We stayed in the Veneto region and drove our car to Treporti to catch the ferry to Burano. This journey takes only 15 minutes.
Watch my Burano mini movie
Me too! It’s such a romantic city full of secrets and beauty. If you are visiting La Serenissima, I have some suggestions on discovering the unique details of Venice and the delicious Venetian cuisine.
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