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Burano, Italy is an island in the Venice Lagoon, about 45 minutes away by boat from that more well known sister city. Often called one of the top most colorful towns in the world, Burano is well worth exploring as a day trip…or even half a day…from Venice.
Learn more about this charming community of about 3,000 inhabitants. And discover things to do in colorful Burano Italy.
Getting to Burano
Visitors to Venice can easily include a trip to tiny Burano via water buses. Our tour group took a large water bus to Burano, for lunch and an afternoon of exploring.
Half a day to a day provides plenty of time to experience the beautiful island.
What to do while on Burano? Read on for a list of possibilities.
Start in Piazza Galuppi
Burano’s main square, Piazza Galuppi, is a great place to begin your exploration on the island. Shops and cafes offer places to purchase goods and eat. Also check out the stone Istrian well that dates back to the 6th century. And note the statue of Baldassarre Galuppi, a famous composer from the island.
Because Burano is famous for its lace making, visit the Burano Museum of Lace if you have time.
Watch a Glass Demonstration
Nearby Murano Island is famous for their glass, just as Burano is for their lace. However, you don’t have to go to Murano for a glass making demonstration. You can see one in Burano.
New Arte Fuga is a shop that sells Murano glass AND gives a glass making demo as well. We caught the demonstration in Venice, however, while in Burano you can check out this amazing art form.
Attend a Lace Making Demonstration
Although Venetian Lace became popular in the 1500s, its production ceased in 1797 with the fall of the Republic of Venice. During an extremely cold winter, in 1872, the fishing community of Burano suffered hardship due to the weather. The economy depended on fishing.
The art of needle lace revived and gained in popularity, easing Burano’s economic situation and improving the island’s quality of life. A lace making school opened and soon became the main source of income for Burano. Although the school eventually closed, women in Burano continue the art of lace making in their homes and shops.
From lace tablecloths to collars to umbrellas to shawls and scarves, there is a vast variety of Burano lace available for purchase. Visit any of the shops in the square or along the narrow streets to find a lace souvenir to take home.
Take a One Hour Walking Tour with a Local
There’s no better way to learn about a community, than from someone who lives there.
If you have time, walk through Burano on this tour, with a knowledgeable guide. It’s a great way to learn the history, secrets and daily life in Burano, from someone born and raised there.
Photograph the Colorful Houses
Burano is known for its brightly colored houses that line the canals and winding streets. Made up of four small islands connected by bridges, Burano’s colorful houses are the other unifying feature.
Legend says that the houses were originally painted in bright colors so that fishermen could find their way home on foggy nights. The fishermen could also easily tell which house was theirs, as each house features a different color.
Today Burano’s painted houses are protected by law. If anyone wants to paint a house, he or she must get approval to do so from the community government first.
These softly hued houses make Burano one of the most photographed places in the world.
Try Burano’s Sweet Treat
Bussola…also called Buranelli…are dense cookies sold in the town. The cookies originated with the fishermen’s wives, who made the treats to send with their husbands on trips out to sea.
The cookies provided the fishermen with nutrients during a long day fishing.
You can sample one of these tasty treats. Look for them in Burano’s shops and cafes.
Take a Photo of Burano’s Leaning Tower
Pisa isn’t the only town in Italy with a leaning tower. Burano has one too!
The bell tower of the Church of St. Martin Bishop is easily seen from all over the island. It stands 159 feet tall on a square base and has an obvious tilt.
At one time an angel statue stood atop the tower. It came down during a storm in 1867. An iron cross tops the tower now.
Enjoy Lunch or Dinner on the Island
With its proximity to the sea, Burano features many fresh seafood dishes. Three of Burano’s best restaurants include Trattoria Al Gatto Nero, Trattoria da Romano and Riva Rosa.
The town’s specialty is Risotto De Go, a dish prepared with a local fish.
And if you are plant based, like me, no worries. I enjoyed a wonderful vegetable lunch, prepared with great care by our chef. It was excellent.
Walk Across the Tre Ponti
Burano has three lovely canals in town. Cross over them on any of the available bridges and pause to snap a photo.
The Tre Ponti is the most famous of the bridges. Made of wood, Tre Ponti is perfectly situated to catch many of Burano’s most scenic views.
Wander Through the Town on Your Own
Our favorite thing to do on Burano was to explore the island, on our own. After a wonderful lunch near the square and time visiting shops, we struck out on our own to explore.
Burano is small enough that you can’t get lost. Or if you do, it won’t be for long. With it’s brightly colored houses, gorgeous canals and narrow streets, Burano is a charming, less crowded, much smaller version of Venice.
We literally walked from one end of the island to the other, enjoying a leisurely stroll. It was fun to watch kids playing and adults sitting together talking. We stopped to catch a gorgeous view of the sea, at the end of one of the canals.
When we reach a row of shuttered houses with fragrant, tiny gardens, we turned to walk back to the square. What an enchanting experience.
Have You Been to Burano?
This tiny island truly exudes fairy tale charm. The eye catching houses, tranquil canals and slower pace make it an ideal excursion while visiting Venice. And if you enjoy taking photos, it is a photographer’s dream location.
Have you been to colorful Burano, Italy? What did you most enjoy?
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