ISLAND OF BURANO
Burano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, and like Venice itself, it could more correctly be called an archipelago of four islands linked by bridges. It is situated near Torcello at the northern end of the Lagoon, and is known for its lacework and brightly coloured homes.
Burano is located about a 40 minute trip from Venice, by Venetian motorboat, "vaporetti". The island is linked to Mazzorbo by a bridge. The current population of Burano is about 2,800. Originally, there were five islands and a fourth canal that was filled to become via e piazza Baldassare Galuppi, joining the former islands of San Martino Destra and San Martino Sinistra. Burano has historically been subdivided into five sestieri, much like the historical center of Venice. They correspond to the five original islands. The sixth sestiere is neighboring Mazzorbo. Burano has a high population density, calculated at more than 13,000 per square kilometer, or more than twenty times the density of neighboring Mazzorbo. It is almost entirely covered by residential buildings, with few small green areas.
GETTING TO THE ISLAND OF BURANO
The easiest way to get to Burano is from Venice is by using the Vaporetto (water bus). The vaporetto takes around 40 minutes to reach the island. The LN line Vaporetto can be boarded at the Tre Porti, Punta Sabbioni and Fondamente Nuove stops. There is no other way to get to the island.
Burano is a fairly small island and there is only one way to move around it, by foot. There are not many places or attractions on the island to explore, the main place here is the colorful village which is very small and can be easily explored on foot. The roads here are quite narrow, in fact they are all streets and the main street here is the Calle Galuppi which is where all the shops are. Walking here is quite pleasant and enjoyable since the houses here are very charming and colorful.
HISTORY OF BURANO
The island was probably settled by the Romans, and in the 6th century was occupied by people from Altino, who named it for one of the gates of their former city. Two stories are attributed to how the city obtained its name. One is that it was initially founded by the Buriana family, and another is that the first settlers of Burano came from the small island of Buranello, about to the south. Although the island soon became a thriving settlement, it was administered from Torcello and had none of the privileges of that island or of Murano. It rose in importance only in the 16th century, when women on the island began making lace with needles, being introduced to such a trade via Venetian-ruled Cyprus. When Leonardo da Vinci visited in 1481, he visited the small town of Lefkara and purchased a cloth for the main altar of the Duomo di Milano. The lace was soon exported across Europe, but trade began to decline in the 18th century and the industry did not revive until 1872, when a school of lacemaking was opened. Lacemaking on the island boomed again, but few now make lace in the traditional manner as it is extremely time-consuming and therefore expensive.
THINGS TO SEE ON BURANO
The Colored Houses - Burano is mainly famous for two things, for its lace and its colorful houses. These houses are quite small and brightly painted and are extremely popular among the European artists. There are some famous artists who own houses here on the island including Philippe Starke. The color with which the houses have to be painted is decided through a well set up system. When anyone on the island wants to color their house they need to send a request to the government who would consider the set of approved colors for that part of the island and then approve or disapprove of a color. Because of this practice the island has different areas with different sets of charming pastel colors which have made it so distinct from the other islands.
The Church of San Martino is the only important church of the island. The church is not very large and neither is it very grand. The most noteworthy aspect of the church is its bell tower.
Museum and School of Lace Making
The museum and school of lace making was set up on the island to preserve its ancient tradition of lace making. The museum is quite small but provides some useful information on how and when the lace making tradition started on the island and quite a lot of other aspects related to it. The school of lace making teaches the women of the island the art of making lace which is quite time consuming and requires quite a lot of intricate work which is why lace is very expensive.
Calle Galuppi is the main street on the island. The street is quite charming since it is lined with shops that are painted with beautiful pastel colors like all the houses on the island. The street has quite a lot of shops, all of which sell lace. There are also a few food shops that serve traditional pastries and snacks. The street is a good place to just walk around and observe the locals. Most locals spend quite a lot of their time on this street and it is more like a center point of the island and often a place where people meet, chat and exchange news. Visitors who are interested in purchasing lace would find it in the shops located on this street.
WHERE TO STAY
Burano has no hotels or any accommodation facilities. The island is very small and has remained quite well protected from tourism. Apart from day excursions and day trips there are no visitors who stay here overnight. Since it is quite close to Venice most tourists generally stay at Venice and visit the island in the day time. Also, there aren't many places to visit on the island except for a handful. Most of these places can be easily visited in a few hours so most people do not prefer to stay here overnight.
EATING ON THE ISLAND OF BURANO
Burano does not really have restaurants, small or big. The island has a few food shops, bakeries and small shops selling coffees, breakfast items and a few light dishes. These food shops are mainly located on the main street of the island, Calle Galuppi. The main food items to try here in Burano are their local biscuits and traditional pastries which are available in almost all food shops here. The biscuits called Essi are especially very popular with the locals. These biscuits are made in the 'S' shape and are yellow in color. These biscuits are quite light and delicious and can be found in all the bakeries here.
SHOPPING ON THE ISLAND OF BURANO
The best thing to purchase here in Burano is lace. Lace is available everywhere on the island, in all shops located here. However, visitors need to be quite careful while selecting the lace since quite a lot of places sells cheap foreign lace on the island now. Also, these days lace is not made in the same traditional manner because it is very time consuming. The lace that is made today on the island is not as intricate as it used to be once. The original lace which is traditionally made is quite expensive.