Burano – the most colorful island in Italy

Burano – the most colorful island in ItalyThis article may contain compensated links. Please read disclaimer for more info

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

Burano colorful houses in Italy

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.

Burano pink house with washing

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

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 green house with bike

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.

Burano Venice Islands

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

Trattoria al Gatto Nero 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

Burano island on the Venetian lagoon

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

arriving in Burano Venice by vaporetto

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

Love Venice?

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.


As seen in:

Suitcases and Sandcastles

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20 Comments

  1. 12th September 2017 / 9:26 PM

    Burano! I love this place so much! Always so colorful and bright! And I love your video!

    • 13th September 2017 / 9:54 PM

      Thanks Christine – I loved it too. So glad we could finally make it there!

  2. 14th September 2017 / 9:09 AM

    Every time I see a post about Burano or Murano I am so sad I didn’t know about these two on my first visit to Venice in 2007! You are right though that the legend of how the lace was made is very romantic! #FarawayFiles

    • 14th September 2017 / 9:16 AM

      You’ll just have to go back! We didnt even mean to go last week. It just kind of happened. I’m going to write this up but staying outside Venice and taking the vaporetto in from the mainland was one of my better ideas

  3. 14th September 2017 / 9:44 AM

    Lovely photos! I’ve been to Venice a few times but not made it over to Burano. There’s a reason to return. The food sounds amazing, I’d love to be sitting in one of those trattorias right now! #farawayfiles

  4. 14th September 2017 / 12:37 PM

    The legend of the lace could seriously be straight out of a fairytale, and we love fairytales in our family. Burano looks like a happy, colorful place #FarawayFiles

  5. 14th September 2017 / 1:22 PM

    We’ve travelled to Venice a few times and sadly missed this colourful little island! I would love to buy some lace there –
    it reminds me of my dear nan so much.. x #FarawayFiles

  6. 14th September 2017 / 2:39 PM

    Loved Borano, sadly I have very few photos as my visit was in pre-blogger days. It was here that I had my first ever marinara pizza and my obsession began. Bring on the garlic! lol #FarawayFiles

  7. 14th September 2017 / 3:07 PM

    Didn’t visit any of the other islands when in Venice. Sure should have 🙂

  8. 14th September 2017 / 5:14 PM

    Beautiful little Burano is an Instagrammer’s dream! You made it look like no one is there – which I’m sure can not be true! What did the littles think – did they pick their favorite colored houses? #FarawayFiles

  9. 14th September 2017 / 6:06 PM

    Each time I have been to Venice, I have missed Burano and so it is top of my list for my next trip – the colours are so fabulous. The story about the mermaid’s tail is wonderful too, a tale I want to believe whether it’s true or not! #farawayfiles

  10. 14th September 2017 / 6:14 PM

    I only had a day to spend in Venice, back when I was 20. I didn’t get to Burano – but how beautiful it is. Anywhere that makes mermaid-inspired lace has to be good! #FarawayFiles

  11. 14th September 2017 / 8:04 PM

    I’m pretty sure that if I hung my washing outside the front of my house the neighbours would have something to say! Mine is definitely not as photogenic 😄 #farawayfiles

  12. 14th September 2017 / 11:31 PM

    I just want to go to Burano for the photo-taking alone. What a photographer’s paradise! #nextime #farawayfiles

  13. 15th September 2017 / 1:02 AM

    Love this! The colors, the water, the green house, door and bicycle all lined up perfectly, all of it! We visited Murano and Venice on our honeymoon almost (gasp) 17 years ago, and I think it is high time we made it back there! Thanks for the inspiration! #farawayfiles

  14. 15th September 2017 / 3:25 AM

    This place is so cute and cheerful! Of course, it can brighten my day! I have been to Venice twice. My time was very limited, so, I couldn’t make it the small islands. I know that is a big miss! I hope to visit once again. Mu husband has never been, so, I would like to go with him. #FarawayFiles

  15. 16th September 2017 / 3:11 AM

    I missed out on visiting Burano. When I toured Italy back in 2008, Burano was not part of the tour. Instead we spent a long time in Venice, St Mark’s Square etc. But I would love to spend a relaxing day in Burano one day – take it slow, walk along the quiet lanes, take lots of pics and have a long lunch 🙂 Lovely photos, Katy! #FarawayFiles

  16. 17th September 2017 / 7:11 PM

    Burano looks unbelievably dreamy. I feel like it must be impossible to have a bad time there! I’d definitely like to see some of that mermaid inspired lace, too.

  17. 18th September 2017 / 2:25 PM

    Burano has been top of my Venice wish list for years. Really hoping to make that dream a reality over the coming year. You know how much I love colour! Wonderful share for #FarawayFiles

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