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Visiting Venice's Colorful Burano Island

Updated on September 17, 2017
bdegiulio profile image

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

Colorful Homes of Burano

The Colorful Homes of Burano
The Colorful Homes of Burano | Source

While Venice is certainly one of Italy’s most popular destinations, the small island of Burano makes for a wonderful change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Venice. Known for its fine handmade lace, fishing, and colorful homes this quiet island is a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors So hop aboard the vaporetto for a ride to one of the most beautiful and unique islands in the Venetian Lagoon.

While over 50,000 tourists will visit Venice on any given day, very few of them take the time to travel out to Burano Island. This might be because many of Venice’s visitors, almost two-thirds, are here for just a day and prefer to see the main sites of Venice. But for those who choose to stay for awhile and are willing to endure the 45 minute boat ride a world of color and lace awaits them.

Welcome to Burano

Welcome to Burano
Welcome to Burano | Source

The Colorful Homes

Arriving in Burano one immediately notices the brilliant pastel colors that adorn virtually every home. This is not done by accident but is all part of the local plan to provide visitors with a beautiful array of colorful buildings, which is a photographers dream come true. When residents wish to paint their homes they must first make a request to the local government, which will respond with a list of certain colors that are permitted for that lot. It’s all part of a very specific system that traces its roots back to an ancient local legend where fisherman would paint their houses in unique and brilliant colors so they could spot them from a distance while away fishing. Whatever the reason for the colors, it makes for a very pleasant visual experience and is one of the main reasons that tourists visit the island.

Brightly Colored House
Brightly Colored House | Source

Burano

Burano
Burano | Source

Handmade Lace

In addition to being a very colorful community Burano is also well known for their lace industry. Since the 16th century high quality handmade lace has been produced here on Burano. Although lace is not quite as popular as it once was and is mass-produced today, a few local artisans on Burano still make lace here by hand with needles. There is even a lace Museum, the Museo del Merletto di Burano that houses a former lace making school that dates back to 1872. The museum is open daily from 10am until 6pm and has an entry fee of just five euro. If you are looking to take home a unique hand crafted piece of Burano lace stop by one of the local shops, some of which have demonstrations to showcase the art. Just be sure that you are getting what you pay for and that the piece is indeed hand made locally.

Handmade Lace

Handmade Lace
Handmade Lace | Source

Church of San Martino

As you approach Burano by vaporetto you will certainly notice the bell tower of the Church of San Martino. If you take a close look you will notice that the tower is leaning. The Church of San Martino was built in the 16th century and dominates the center of Burano. This is the only church on the island and in addition to being famous for its leaning tower it also houses most of the historic artwork that is on the island. The famous painting the Crucifixion, by artist G.B. Tiepolo dates to the early 18th century and is the most well known piece of artwork in the church.

Leaning Tower of San Martino

The Leaning Tower of San Michele
The Leaning Tower of San Michele | Source

Fishing

Although Burano relies mainly on tourist dollars it is at heart a fishing community with roots that go back to the seventh century. While here you will undoubtedly notice the fishing boats leaving in the morning and returning at the end of the day with their bounty. Because of this you will find the freshest seafood here on Burano. Fishing techniques used long ago are still used today with reed cages and nets used to capture the fish as the tides come in and out. The great variety of different fishing boats used in the lagoon is the result of centuries of experience in fishing the waters of the Adriatic.

Color Everywhere

Burano
Burano | Source

There really is not much else to do while visiting Burano and that is part of the attraction here. You will not encounter the hordes of tourists that can make getting around the center of Venice such a challenge. Other than visiting the Lace Museum and the Church of San Martino the rest of your time should be spent enjoying the beautiful colors of Burano. There are a number of small shops, cafes, and restaurants here and this really is a wonderful place to unwind with a leisurely stroll around the island. Just be sure to bring your camera as this is one of the most colorful and photogenic places I have ever been to.

The easy pace of Burano!
The easy pace of Burano! | Source

Getting There

Getting out to Burano Island does require some work but is worth the effort. The vaporetto line number 12 leaves from the Fondament Nove station, which is located on the north end of Venice. The boat ride out to Burano Island will make a stop at Murano Island, which is the home of the world famous Murano Glass and certainly worth a visit.

If you are planning a full day journey out to Burano I would suggest splitting the time between the islands and spending at least a few hours on Murano. The trip to Murano will take approximately fifteen minutes followed by another thirty minutes to get to Burano. The journey certainly gives one a feel for the size of the Venetian Lagoon and along the way you will pass a variety of vessels engaged in fishing, commerce, and tourism, all the activities that keep these islands humming.

Murano

Murano Glass
Murano Glass | Source

Lagoon Traffic

Traffic on the Lagoon
Traffic on the Lagoon | Source

Shortly after leaving Venice and before you arrive in Murano you will also pass the interesting island of San Michele, otherwise known as the cemetery island. As you cruise by, one can’t help but wonder whether San Michele is actually what it appears to be and the answer is “yes”. This former prison is now home to hundreds of thousands of graves including a few famous folks. Igor Stravinsky and noted French jewelry designer Jean Schlumberger of Tiffany’s fame are both entombed here. Although we did not venture to San Michele you can get there by taking vaporetto number 42 or 52 from the Fondamente Nove station. The ride is but five minutes. There is a Renaissance era church here, the Church of San Michele and a monastery worth visiting should you decide to visit.

San Michele

The Cemetery Island - San Michele
The Cemetery Island - San Michele | Source

If your stay in Venice is for more than just a day consider taking the trip out to Burano. This quiet and colorful island is the perfect escape for a little peace and tranquility from Venice. The vibrant colors and charm of Burano are sure to brighten your day. Enjoy your visit to the Isola di Burano.

Ciao for now.

show route and directions
A markerBurano Island -
Burano, 30142 Venice, Italy
get directions

B markerVenice -
Venice, Italy
get directions

C markerMurano -
Murano Venice, Italy
get directions

D markerSan Michele, Venice -
Isola di San Michele, 30121 Venice, Italy
get directions

A markerBurano Island -
Burano, 30142 Venice, Italy
get directions

© 2013 Bill De Giulio

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    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Alun. Thank you. We really, really loved Burano. I'm so glad you had the opportunity to go. It's a bit of a ride to get out there but totally worth the effort. Looking forward to the rest of your Venice hubs. Have a great weekend.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Bill, having recently visited the island of Burano, I can agree with absolutely everything you have written here. It really is a charming, attractive island, and the town still retains the air of a fishing village doesn't it?

      I would thoroughly recommend anyone who visits Venice for more than a day or two to visit this island. It's a lovely place, and your article captures all the important facts about it, accompanied by your photos which really do the island justice. Voted up in several categories for the interest and usefulness of the hub for visitors, and the beauty of the photos. Alun

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi ComfortB. Thank you for stopping by. The colors are amazing. It's quite a place. Thank you for the vote. Have a colorful weekend,

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Sue. Most visitors to Venice never make it out to Burano. It is worth the trip however. Very colorful and nowhere hear the crowds of Venice. Thanks for the vote, pin, etc. Have a great weekend.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Mary, you are too kind. We try to make the most of our trips. It certainly would be nice to someday have a published book on Italy. Who knows what the future holds :) Thanks so much for the votes, share, pin, etc. Have a nice weekend.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      I've been to Venice and I know nothing of this place. If I ever go to Venice again I will most certainly give it a visit. It looks so beautiful and I would love to take some photographs. Voted up and interesting and pinned.

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Wow! This is my kind of place to live. I love the colors. The people here wouldn't know what 'being moody' is, that's for sure!

      Voted up and beautiful.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Not only the path commonly traveled Bill, but you take us to places not usually known. There is no doubt your photos are exquisite and this is but another example. You truly capture the essence of any place you visit along with the culture and background history.

      I would love to see your photo albums since I know we're only getting a glimpse. When you finally publish your beautiful book about Italy they will really have to pay you for the promotion! Another stellar hub.

      Voted everything but funny, pinned and shared.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Suzie. These other islands around Venice are equally beautiful and amazing. We loved the colors of Burano. Also, not as many tourists and much more laid back than the hustle and bustle of Venice. Thanks so much for the votes, shares, pins, etc. Have a great day.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      What a stunning opening photo, wow! Would frame that! Burano is my kind of island for the color alone, gorgeous! Apart from the famous glass, it looks a wonderful island to visit and definitely put on the radar for visiting Venice, being so close and easily accessible by the wee vaporetto boats. Great trip you brought us as always my friend!

      Up, useful, awesome, beautiful. shared , pinned etc . . .

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Crystal. Glad you enjoyed Burano. Keep it on your bucket list, it's worth the effort to see. Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Looks absolutely gorgeous! Another place to add to my bucket list. I have to stop reading your hubs or I'll never get it all done!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Elisha. Thank you. Burano makes a great day trip from Venice. So full of life and color. Glad you enjoyed the tour, have a great day.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi galine. Thank you. Burano certainly is a very colorful place. Also a very happy place. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Elisha Jachetti profile image

      Elisha Jachetti 4 years ago

      That canal is so fun and colorful. It's such a great part of Venice. It is a wonderful city that I seriously hope doesn't just wash away.

    • galine profile image

      galine 4 years ago from Chicago

      Very colorful town people there must like to feel happy.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Pam, How are you? Thank you for stopping by. Burano was wonderful, so colorful and full of energy. We would back in a heartbeat.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      The colorful buildings make everything look so cheerful, and it is just a very beautiful area. It is certainly worth taking the time to visit. Awesome hub.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you Linda. I certainly seemed to have morphed into a few niches, namely Italy and the Birds of Prey series as you mentioned. Sooner or later I'll run out of places in Italy to write about, might be time to start planning a new trip :) I certainly always appreciate your support and look forward to your comments. Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You are creating a fantastic guide to Italy with all your wonderful hubs, Bill! The collection is very useful and enjoyable for anyone planning a trip to Italy and for an armchair traveler like me! I'm always happy to see one of your Italy or birds of prey hubs in my daily HubPages notifications. I will share this hub.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Why thank you Patricia. A very much appreciate the kind comments. Burano was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of Venice. We really enjoyed the wonderful colors and slower pace of the island. A wonderful day to you.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Jenn-Anne. Thank you for visiting Burano with me. It is one of the most colorful places we have ever been and we enjoyed our stay there. Thanks again, have a great day.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi travmaj. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the hub. It took us two trips before we made it to Burano. It was worth the wait. Thanks so much so stopping by, have a wonderful day.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Love to visit little out of the way places so this sounds like a place I would love to travel to and enjoy. The colors and the lace...who could ask for more?

      Thanks for sharing this peek into Burano and showing us the loveliness through your photos.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • Jenn-Anne profile image

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      Wow! Great hub with amazing photos! I have never heard of Burano Island before - what an interesting, colorful place! If I am ever able to visit Venice I will make a point of visiting Burano also.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      I love this hub. I was in Venice last year, the first time for 25 years - still wonderful! Didn't manage that trip to Burano, but now I've read your hub I can see I missed something very special. I'll have to go back! Very interesting and wonderful photographs - thank you.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you FA. It's easy to take nice photos of a place that is so beautiful and colorful. Hopefully to get there someday :) Many thanks for the vote, share, etc.... Have a wonderful weekend.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi i scribble. Thank you. I love the play on words :) Venice is wonderful, really like no other place that I have been. Hopefully you get to experience it someday.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Joelle. Thank you. This was actually our second trip to Venice and on our first trip we did not make it to any of the other islands. Perhaps if you go back someday you will venture out to Burano. It really is a beautiful and unique place. Thanks so much for stopping by. A great weekend to you also.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Bill. I've still got a few more Italy hubs to go. Burano was a special place, we loved the color and solitude of the island. Have a great weekend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      This was an excellent hub! I love your ***amazing photos*** and look forward to visiting one day. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting, and shared.

    • i scribble profile image

      i scribble 4 years ago

      You have some pixellent photos! Wish I could go there. I've always wanted to see Venice.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful hidden treasure, Bill! I went to Venice a long time ago but didn't know about Burano Island. I think my kids and my husband would have enjoyed it very much! We spent two days walking all the little street of Venice...we could have spare one day for the other island for sure! I love the bright colours! It reminds me of La Boca in Buenos Aires except that the constructions are totally different!

      Thanks for sharing this beautiful hub!

      Have a great weekend!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      And the book continues to grow, chapter by chapter...well done Bill. I love the brightly colored homes...it reminds me of San Francisco for some reason and the row houses there with their distinct painting jobs.

      Anyway, great job. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Joe. This was one of my favorite places in Italy. The colors were just wonderful and the relaxed atmosphere was a welcome relief from the crowds on Venice. Many people don't make it out to Burano but I am so glad that we decided to make the trip. Thanks so much Joe for the visit, you are up early this Saturday morning. Have a great weekend.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi srsddn. Glad you enjoyed the visit to Burano. The houses are amazing and the colors are a visual feast. Thanks so much for stopping by and the vote and share. Have a great weekend.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Bill, good morning!

      I purchased a puzzle once of these colorful houses along a waterfront. One of your photos above convinces me that this was Burano Island or a striking resemblance of same. What a beautiful place! You never cease to amaze me with your wonderful ability to present all facets of Italy with reader-friendly text and fantastic photography. Thank you for sharing, Bill! Aloha, and have a great weekend!

      ~Joe

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 4 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      bdegiulio, it is amazing. The houses are really colourful, I don't know how people decide about it. I am also pleased to see the water transport system available on the doorsteps. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.