Reasons to visit Burano Island
Soak up bright colors – and take incredible photos
Ever seen those photos of Venice that show brightly-painted buildings and flowerpots? Those aren’t from the main island of Venice, but Burano. The island is a true photo-lover’s paradise!
Families used to paint their homes in bright, cheerful colors to designate where their family’s quarters ended and a neighbor’s property began. It was also a way to make their homes more visible from the sea. Luckily for us, the tradition has stuck. Today, Burano is a rainbow of fun, bright colors – and the perfect place for that great Venice shot.
Experience a true fisherman’s island
While there are touristy parts of Burano, much of it still has the working-island feel that can be hard to find in central Venice. Local women peer over their flower boxes at the tourists wandering below, and fishing boats come in at the end of the day with their catch.
But as one local told us, this is changing. It’s tough to live in Burano. Not only is the island isolated – it’s a half-hour trip from the island of Venice by boat – it also suffers from severe acqua alta, or flooding, each winter. For more opportunity and conveniences, many members of Burano’s new generations are moving to the mainland. Our advice: Go now.
Uncover the history of delicate Venetian lace
Back in the 16th century, the women of Burano started stitching lace. The work was extremely exacting—in fact, each woman specialized in a single stitch, and since there are seven stitches in total, each piece would have to be passed from woman to woman to finish. That’s why one handmade lace centerpiece for a tablecloth takes about a month to create!
Because of that amount of work and how expensive it is to make handmade lace, much of the lace you see being sold in Burano’s stores today is made by machine. But if you want a glimpse of what lace was like in the time when it was all done by hand, you’ve still got some options.
We like La Perla Gallery (Via San Martino Sinistro, 376), a lace shop just off the main street of Via Galuppi. In La Perla, you’ll find handmade products range from tablecloths and doilies to Venetian masks and babies’ booties. Women often are stationed inside, stitching away, so you can even see how it’s done.
Marvel at artisanal objects you won’t find anywhere else
If you’re especially fascinated by lace and textiles, stop at the Scuola del Merletto, a museum with some excellent examples of 16th and 17th-century lace. The museum is a treasure trove of objects, including a beautiful, lace-trimmed gown worn by Queen Margherita, the Jackie Kennedy of late 19th-century Italy. By detailing Burano’s long history with lacemaking, Scuola del Merletto brings the stories of local lacemakers to life.
Eat better on Burano Island than almost anywhere in Venice
Because Burano is a working fisherman’s island, you can get super-fresh seafood here—for a fraction of the price it would be over the lagoon on Venice. One of our favorite restaurants is Trattoria Al Gatto Nero, where the fish is fresh and delicious. Don’t miss out on the pastas and desserts either – all dishes are made in-house, and the quality is evident.
If you can, hold out for an outside table, where you can enjoy a great view over the canal. For the quality of the food, the value is excellent. For example, a three-course meal will be good deal cheaper than any of the same quality you’d find in Venice. We highly recommend making a reservation, since Gatto Nero fills up fast.
Getting to Burano from Venice
One vaporetto line runs from Venice to Burano: the 12. The large, express ferry runs from Venice’s San Zaccaria stop (near St. Mark’s), to Burano and Murano, with another stop at Venice’s Fondamente Nove stop.
Update notice: This article was updated on June 21, 2023.
Journey to Venice’s outer islands, Murano and Burano, by private boat on our Premium Lagoon Excursion: Murano Glass Making, Burano & Wine Tasting tour. Along the way, we’ll indulge in a VIP-level wine tasting at a secluded vineyard and see a private glassmaking demonstration without the crowds.
by Elena L.View more by Elena ›
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