Italy / Venice

7 Reasons to Make Time for Burano in Venice, Italy

Burano Island for Travel Photography

Before we arrived in Venice, I knew Burano was a must see for me.  Just a quick internet perusal showed me the colorful homes, the canal reflections… and it would be something I regretted deeply if I didn’t make the time to visit.

So, I’m going to share some of the reasons it’s worth making the trek to Burano, along with an assortment of the photos I took.

1. Burano’s Rich History

The founding of Burano was in the 5th-6th century AD.  Residents of Altino, on the mainland, sought refuge on the little lagoon island to escape the barbarian invasion.  Actually, they named the collection of islands they settled on after the doors of their old city:  Murano, Mazzorbo, Burano, Torcello, Ammiana, and Costanziaca.  Burano’s name actually came from “Porta Boreana” meaning “northern gateway.”

Burano Island for Travel PhotographyBurano Island for Travel Photography

2.  Burano’s Brightly Colored Homes

The island is covered in brightly colored houses, a tradition that dates back to the height of Burano’s fame and wealth.  It is believed that the resident fisherman began painting their homes in bright colors so that their houses would still be easily identifiable, even when returning from the day at sea in the fog.  Today, the colorful painting is maintained by Burano regulation, with the homes in different areas following strictly regulated color patterns.  If you wish to change the color of your house, you must submit a request to the government, and you will be told what colors are approved for your area and home.

Burano Island for Travel PhotographyBurano Island for Travel Photography

Oh, and sadly, when I looked in to purchasing a house on Burano, the overwhelming response was simply:  Good Luck.  And, another dream dies.

Burano Island for Travel Photography

3.  The Vaporetto Ride to Burano

The fact that Burano is a 40 minute ride on the vaporetto from Venice, means that day trippers are reluctant to travel to the island.  Don’t let the 40 minutes dissuade you, though.  During the ride, you will pass by the cemetery island of San Michele, then the glass blowing island of Murano, and Torcello, before reaching Mozzorbo, and then Burano.  It is a beautiful ride in its own right.

Burano Island for Travel Photography

4.  Burano’s Smaller Crowds

Because many visiting Venice can’t sacrifice the time from their tight schedules to make that vaporetto ride, Burano’s crowds are significantly less than Venice.  There were still times I had to patiently wait while the person who clashed with my photo meandered their way out of the shot.  But it is actually possible to get photos without tons of people, which is pretty amazing.

Burano Island for Travel Photography

5. Burano’s Fresh Seafood

As I mentioned earlier, fishing was a key part of Burano history.  In fact, fishing was the primary trade for most of the island’s history.  Times change, and there are far fewer fisherman on the island today.  But, it is still quite possible to find a meal created from the daily catch, so do take a look around.  One good option is Al Gatto Nero Da Ruggero at 88 Via Giudecca.

Burano Island for Travel PhotographyBurano Island for Travel Photography

6.  Burano’s Lace History and Souvenirs

The gorgeous scenery, colorful homes, and fishing, isn’t all Burano has ever been known for, though.  It was also the center of a thriving lace-making industry.  Legend goes that a fisherman returned from fishing one day with a wedding veil for his betrothed that had been given to him by a siren.  The work was so lovely, that when his betrothed was seen in it, people immediately set to work attempting to produce work as beautiful.  And a lace-making industry was born.

Whether or not the origins descended from a siren, the lace industry became famous and lucrative for Burano.  In fact, Leonardo Da Vinci even visited in 1481, and bought the cloth he used on the altar at the Duomo di Milano.

Burano Island for Travel Photography

I have no idea who this lady is in the next picture, but she was so perfectly contrasting with the bright red-orange house, I just had to take her picture!  (And I absolutely want those yellow pants.)

Burano Island for Travel Photography

The height of popularity for Burano’s needle-created lace was during the 1600s.  The lace became known as punto in aria, meaning “points in the air.”  It also became a status symbol for European nobility, worn at the cuffs, in intricate stand-up collars, and used in accessories such as handkerchiefs, shawls, and gloves.  Catherine de Medici even brought designers of Burano lace to France when she became Queen.

Today, lace is still sold, made by women who have learned from mothers and grandmothers for the most part.  It is sold in the shops on the island and is worth looking for.  But use caution!  True Burano lace is time intensive and expensive, cheaper pieces sold in stores is often imported.  Ask if you want the real thing.

Burano Island for Travel Photography

7.  Your Camera Will Love Burano

Burano was an absolute treat for my camera.  I wandered the streets with absolutely no purpose other than to find more and more interesting corners and side streets.  I took over 220 photos in just one half-day on the island, and that was exhibiting self-control since my dear husband was patiently reading a book and waiting for me to go have lunch with him.  Get there early to take advantage of the smallest crowds and get your photos!

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One bonus reason to visit:

The island is small enough it’s nearly impossible to get lost, so just set foot on it, and go.

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If you like this post, check out my post on Anafiotika in Photos

Or this one showing the Doors of Venice

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Burano Island in Venice, Italy, is a side trip well worth the visit.

Burano Island, in Venice, Italy, is a picturesque side trip well worth the visit.

23 thoughts on “7 Reasons to Make Time for Burano in Venice, Italy

    • Oh my goodness! Well, Venice has so much to offer, I’m not really shocked. BUT… it does give you an excellent reason to go back! 😀

  1. Dying to visit this place! I am a big fan of color! I have been to Venice twice but have not visited this island. I have to do it one day!

    • I agree, Burano was surprisingly more laid back than the vibe in Venice, given how close it is. It was a really nice break. And while I walked around with my camera, hubby sat in a little park reading a book. He loved it! 😀

  2. I went to venice 7 years ago and it was such a quick visit, I’ve been dreaming to go back for more next time. Now, you’ve convinced me (it was so difficult lol) to also spend some time at Burano. I guess, I should start planning right away 🙂

    • Good!! I’m right with you, it takes very little to convince me to go to Italy in general. Daughter and I were driving to a class of hers, and we drive right past the airport. We were discussing how upset Dad would be if we just turned into the airport and called him saying we had tickets, and if he could get to the airport by flight time with daughter #2, they could come. Otherwise, we were outta here. Hehehe…

    • First time I went to Venice, it was a one day stop before we were on to Padua, Assissi, etc. (Not my preferred way to travel, but I was with family I love, so just went with it.) I text my husband that night telling him that trip was strictly a scouting mission, and we HAD to return for a longer stay. 😀 That’s how this trip came about.

  3. Lovely post with some fabulous images. I’ve been to Venice once for a quick trip but vow to make it to Burano on my next visit. I’m a photographer and am itching to take some snaps of all that great color!

  4. Burano is such an amazing place!! I only heard about it a couple of months ago when I did research for my trip to Venice. When we were there there was literally no one one the island (ok, it was raining) which was such a cool experience! I love your colourful pictures, really really cool shots!

  5. YESSS I love this place so much! Everyone always goes to Murano for the glass stuff and I’m like “but… Burano… has… colours….” Awesome informative post – I didn’t know some of the history stuff so that was good to learn! I guess I was too distracted by all the pretty colours ha ha ha.

  6. Great article and images! Cool facts about the legend of the lace. I hadn’t heard that. I visited Murano in October 2017 for a photo workshop and absolutely fell in love. I’ll be sharing your article on Twitter as well as Facebook as it’s a great intro to this charming Venetian island. Next time, I plan to spend an entire day there.

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