You probably have not heard of Burano and you’re thinking that I probably wrote wrong Murano. Actually, both are islands within the lagoon of Venice. Reading reviews you can find that the tourists thought that this was the prettiest island. And it’s easy to see why people fall in love with Burano!
How to get to Burano from Venice?
We stayed in a hotel in Venecia near Piazza San Marco and San Zacarias. Both have vaporetto stops, which are very slow boats (they go about 5 kilometers per hour) that take tourists between the different stops.
We saw signs announcing tours to the three islands: Murano, Burano and Torcello for only €20. I thought it was a bargain, the problem was the time in which they traveled through the islands: 4 hours and a half. We thought that really it was very little time to see the three and that we would be rushed like cattle. Therefore, we prefer to buy the unlimited use ticket (airport not included) for €20. If you buy it for more days, they give you a discount and the children pay half the price.
The map of the vaporetto routes is quite complicated, do not feel bad if you spend hours trying to decipher it. In the end all you have to do is ride on line 12 that takes you to Burano and Torcello. We had already gone to Murano the previous day. If it is possible to visit the three islands in a full day if you leave early.
History of Burano
It is not known exactly when the Romans arrived on the island. In the 6th century, the island was occupied by the people of Altino who escaped the invasion of the barbarians. There are three stories of how it got its name; one says that it was founded by the Buriana family and another that the settlers came from the island of Buranello, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) to the south.
The last version is that the inhabitants designated six doors to the city. The name ‘Burano’ comes from ‘Porta Boreana’ which means the north gate of the city.
When it was part of the Republic of Venice, it reached 8,000 inhabitants who were mostly poor and lived on agriculture and fishing. This republic existed between 697-1797. Today it is part of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Cyprus and Greece.
Famous for lace
Burano became important when the women began making lace with needles, which were introduced through Cyprus. Leonardo da Vinci visited the island in 1481 and bought a cloth for the main altar of the Duomo di Milano.
Museo del Merletto is the lace museum that is located inside a Gothic palace that was originally the famous School of Lace of Burano. If you visit (we did not enter because we were with a teenager who wasn’t interested) you can see the techniques and know the legends. It is said that the first lace was obtained by a fisherman for his girlfriend. The sirens of the lagoon had done it with foam from the sea and they had given it to him.
The bride used it on her wedding day and all the women were jealous of her beauty. A competition was done to create a veil as beautiful as that of the mermaids and thus began the creation of lace in Burano. I doubt that the legend is true, but what is known is that in the sixteenth century the women of Burano began to weave lace. The museum has lace pieces dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
There are several stores in Burano that sell pieces at high prices. Its cost is due to all the handmade work required to make the lace. Following the techniques of before, there were seven points in total, and each woman specialized in one. When she finished, the piece was passed to another person. If you want cheaper options, you can buy a machine-made piece.
The colors of the island
The island of Burano is relatively small with 52 acres (21.08 hectares). Its current population is about 3,000 inhabitants with a very high density due to lack of space. You will see very few green areas on the island, one of the few is in front of the vaporetto stop.
If you visit you will fall in love with the colorful houses on the island that reflect a rainbow in the green water of the canals. These colors are not meant to entertain tourists, they were painted by sailors to be able to recognize theirs in a foggy day. Another version tells that they were painted to ward off the evil eye.
The truth is that no matter what is the reason for the colors, they are simply very attractive for visitors and residents. The island is a paradise to take photos for Instagram. You just have to select the color that you like the most and pose.
Residents of Burano can not paint their houses of any color, even if it seems otherwise. To apply to paint your home, you must send a letter to the government and they will send the colors allowed.
An island of fishermen
In spite of the overtourism received by Venice, the majority of the island stays like an island of fishermen. You can see the boats equipped for fishing moored in the channels.
Near the church you can find an outdoor seafood market with permanent tables. We asked and they told us that it only operates on Wednesday mornings.
It is not surprising that the island’s gastronomic specialty is seafood. One of the typical dishes is the Risotto alla Buranella, made from the fish giozzi from the lagoon. Whatever seafood you order is good and fresh. We bought some gifts in a store that sold glass pieces of Murano and we started talking with the owner who recommended a tratrory in front of his store.
Burano has an inclined bell tower
The Tower of Pisa is definitely the most famous leaning building in Italy and the world. But it is not the only leaning building in Italy, since Burano has a bell tower that can be seen from the moment you arrive at the vaporetto station.
As the island is small, it has only one square and a single church called San Martino, which has the bell tower.
Its construction occurred in the eighteenth century and from the beginning, it began to give signs of collapse. The bases that make up the subsoil did not support the weight of it. In 1970 a consolidation work was done to strengthen the structure.
Global warming has increased the ‘acqua alta’, or floods, which occur every winter. This is causing many residents to be forced to move to the mainland. It is advisable to visit the island soon, before it possibly ceases to exist.
Photos of Burano (I took many!!)