Welcome to one of Europe’s most picturesque destinations: Burano Island in Venice. Nestled in the heart of Venice’s panoramic lagoon, pastel-colored homes, unique canals, and handmade lace help make Bruano an unforgettable experience.
This blog post will help guide you through exploring everything beautiful Lace Island has to offer. From characteristic brightly-colored fishermen’s houses lined up along winding cobblestone streets; to delicate lace shops, inviting cafes, and gelaterias – take a journey with me as we wander around this photogenic Italian paradise!
Whether it’s your first time exploring or you’ve already taken a few trips across Lace Island before, read on to find out what not to miss when visiting this destination.
Venice’s Island Guides:
Table of Contents:
- A Short History of Burano
- Top Things to Do and See on Burano
- Explore Charming, Colorful Houses
- Burano Lace Museum (Museo del Merletto)
- Leaning Tower of Burano (Chiesa di San Martino Vescovo)
- Baldassare Galuppi Statue
- Love Viewing Bridge
- High Tide Houses
- Try Some Buranelli Biscotti
- Day Trips and Boat Tours to Other Islands
- Is Burano, Italy Worth Visiting?
- Travel Tips for Visiting Burano, Italy
- Burano vs Murano
- About Burano, Italy
- Burano Frequently Asked Questions
A Short History of Burano
Located in the Venetian Lagoon, this charming little island has a long and interesting history. Having been inhabited by people for over 1,000 years. The Romans first settled Burano in the 3rd century BC when some inhabitants of Altino fled from Barbarian invasions.
The island’s name was derived from Boreana, a district or entrance in Altino. This title suits Burano as it’s widely seen as the gateway to Venice Lagoon.
It wasn’t until much later – during the eleventh century – that the island was fortified with walls, towers, and bridges.
The pinnacle of Burano’s history came in the 16th century when it became a major lace-producing center for Venice. The practice of producing handmade lace eventually spread across Europe and today is still considered one of the region’s main symbols.
Top Things to Do and See on Burano
Burano Island in Venice is a fantastic destination for people looking to experience a unique and beautiful getaway. Our top things to do and see on Burano take you through winding canals, past pastel-colored homes, and into handmade lace shops.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or want to explore this Italian paradise’s vibrant culture, Burano will surely provide plenty of opportunities for unforgettable experiences. So grab some gelato and join us on a walking tour of Burano.
Explore Charming, Colorful Houses
A large reason for Burano’s popularity, colorful homes are a must-see when visiting Lace Island. Every house has its own unique charm and vibrant colors that help add to the overall character of this destination.
The story behind these painted buildings is quite interesting. Many attribute this practice to fishermen who wanted their houses to be visible when returning home from long sea-faring voyages.
This is just a myth; the truth is the buildings were more natural, with muted colors readily available during the time. The vibrant homes you see today are a relatively modern creation to enhance tourism to the island.
At one point, the government restricted homeowners to a specific palette they could choose from. The purpose was to limit anything from becoming too garish and an eyesore.
Now, locals are free to choose whichever color pleases them as long as it does not mirror that of their neighbor – a measure taken so both homes can maintain individualistic charm.
Visit Casa di Bepi Suà (“Bepi of Candies”)
The world-famous Casa di Bepi Suà in Burano is a kaleidoscope of geometric shapes and stands out amongst the rainbow-themed homes in Burano.
The story behind the house is very sweet and one of neighborly love.
Bepi house differs from others because the owner, Giuseppe Toselli, couldn’t afford enough paint to cover his home one color. The townsfolk kindly donated their leftover paint so Toselli could create a fantastic-looking home.
While some might think it is called Bepi of Candies because the colors remind them of different sweet treats, but it’s actually because Toselli sold candies in Burano’s main square.
While Bepi has since passed away, the house remains as he left it to importalize his legacy and the profound effect he had on the neighborhood.
Burano Lace Museum (Museo del Merletto)
Burano’s colorful homes are a tourist favorite, but the Museo del Merletto is another must-see attraction. This museum showcases different types of lace from around Europe and houses many tools that were once used to create intricate designs.
You’ll also find many samples that illustrate the different types of laces made in Burano and how they evolved.
The museum is quite interactive, with helpful staff readily available to answer any questions you may have – an invaluable resource if you’re interested in learning more about the art of lace-making.
The museum also houses a library with centuries-old books that discuss the history and techniques of lace-making, making it a great place to kill some time while learning about this unique craft.
Lace Making Demonstration
If you’ve been to a Murano glass-blowing demonstration, you know that locals take great pride in crafting beautiful items. Making lace in Burano is no different.
No list of things to do in Burano is complete without visiting a lace demonstration. The women are extremely friendly and passionate about their craft, so it’s always a pleasure to talk with them and learn more about the art of lace-making.
During these demonstrations, the women will explain how lace is made, why it is so prevalent in Burano, and teach you some of the skills needed to create your own masterpiece.
It is said that the lace of Burano island emerged from a story of love and loyalty. During a finishing expedition, one brave fisherman, reminded of his fiancée back home, refused to heed a siren’s song.
In awe of his devotion, the Siren Queen created an exquisite white foam in admiration – which ultimately transformed into a beautiful bridal veil.
When the fisherman presented his betrothed with a gift upon his return home, the women of the island were captivated by its beauty and sought to recreate it in their needlework.
For hundreds of years, Burano, Italy has been a lace-making hub and is an admired craftsmanship today. Seeing a demonstration of the intricate process is now one of the most sought-after activities among tourists visiting Burano.
Leaning Tower of Burano (Chiesa di San Martino Vescovo)
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8.00-12.00; 15.00-18.00
The Chiesa di San Martino Vescovo (Church of Saint Martin Bishop) is an iconic 16th-century Roman Catholic church, most famously known for its slanted bell tower. The Leaning Tower of Burano has become a symbol of the island.
In 1750, a fire ravaged part of the church that was eventually reconstructed. However, after the church reopened, they found the bell tower too modest.
One year later, they removed the bell tower’s uppermost section and supplanted it with another one that was 10m taller than the original.
The designers didn’t take inventory of the additional weight and elevation, and the bell tower gradually started leaning over time.
While the tower started leaning much earlier, one evening in 1961, the tower leaned so far that the bell rang in the middle of the night. This indicated to residents that something was dreadfully wrong with the tower’s structural integrity.
Experienced engineers from Naples reinforced the building’s foundations by driving long, iron-cased piles up to 23.5m deep through mud and into solid sand – a crucial step in creating proper support for the structure.
Thankfully, the Leaning Tower still stands high above the colorful houses and makes for an incredible sight.
Baldassare Galuppi Statue
As a tribute to Baldassare Galuppi, the 18th-century composer, an impressive bronze statue honors him in the main square of Burano.
Galuppi wrote extensively for the theater and was one of the most prominent Venetian composers between 1740 and 1770. As such, his works laid the foundation for the development of Venetian opera and influenced many other composers of the classical period.
Galuppi’s work was featured in the famous Teatro La Fenice, which you can learn more about in our article on The Best Things to Do in Venice.
Sculptor Francesco Bonazza created the Baldassare Galuppi statue in 1868. He depicted the composer at 26 years old – when he began making a name for himself in classical music.
The statue stands in the center of a circular flower bed, surrounded by several benches and lanterns that make for an ideal spot to take a few pictures or sit and admire the scenery.
If you happen to be in Burano during the summer months, check out the free concerts performed in the square on Wednesday evenings – a perfect way to end your visit.
Love Viewing Bridge
The Love Viewing Bridge is one of the most romantic spots in Burano – and for a good reason. The bridge is between two brightly painted houses, which frame the view of the canal and a stunning sunset.
The bridge symbolizes a couple’s love for each other, and visitors often flock here to capture an Instagram-worthy photo with their significant other – or enjoy the view solo.
If “Instagram Models” and people taking photos aren’t your jam and you prefer a more secluded spot on the island, head over to the ancient fisherman’s wharf. It’s a great spot to watch the boats come in and out of the harbor while escaping the crowds.
This peaceful corner of Burano offers abundant natural beauty that’s easily missed among the colorful houses. It’s the perfect spot to explore the quieter side of the island.
High Tide Houses
One of the more recognizable landmarks in Burano are high tide houses. These colorful homes line the sides of canals and were created to track the date and how many centimeters the water level rose on that particular day.
The most famous high tide house is on the corner of Piazza Galuppi. You can’t miss it. It will be the one with what appears to be child-like drawings all over it. There are usually one or two other people taking a photo as well.
Try Some Buranelli Biscotti
Burano Island is known for its signature Buranelli biscotti, which visitors can pick up from almost any bakery. These cookies are made with orange peel, sugar, and almonds. They taste more like a butter cookie than they do a traditional biscotti. Although you’ll find a few recipe variations throughout the island, most are S-shaped.
It’s not just a treat – it’s also a tradition. The locals say that the Buranelli biscotti was created by a group of young women from Burano who wanted to give something special to returning fishermen and loved ones.
While I’m not sure how accurate the origin story is, they certainly are a delicious treat, and we bring some home for my grandma whenever we visit Burano, Italy.
Burano is known as “Lace Island,” so it’s no surprise that shopping for lace products is one of Burano’s top things to do. You’ll find a few stores scattered throughout the island, but I recommend heading to Martina Vidal Venice. We asked our tour guide, and they said that particular location has some of the best lace products in Italy.
Regardless of which shop you go to, most storekeepers are happy to show off their wares and will give you a tour of the shop. Just don’t expect many to know much English outside of a few pleasantries.
Keep in mind that lace production is extremely time-consuming, and products are very expensive on the island. Outside of tourism, it’s their primary source of income, so they are a little more expensive than you may find elsewhere in the Venetian lagoon.
Considering Burano, Italy is home to the most famous lace museum and lace school in Europe, we bit the bullet and purchased some for family members.
Day Trips and Boat Tours to Other Islands
While visiting Burano is a fantastic experience, we recommend visiting the other islands nearby.
You can find boat tours that will take you to Murano, Lido, and Torcello.
Each small island is home to various attractions, restaurants, and shops. You’ll get the chance to learn about the Venetian glass-blowing tradition in Murano, explore the ancient churches on Torcello, and walk the long and narrow beach of Lido.
While there are several tours you can book, the private boat tour that we used visited five of Venice’s islands: Murano, Burano, San Francesco del Deserto, Torcello, and Mazzorbo.
My wife loved tasting wine at the secret island vineyard, and I liked the ancient Venetian Republic monastery on San Francesco del Deserto.
Full-Day Venice Island Boat Tour
Looking for a unique Venetian experience? This full-day tour by private boat takes you to Murano, Burano, San Francesco del Deserto, Torcello, and Mazzorbo.
Is Burano, Italy Worth Visiting?
Burano is the most beautiful and colorful island in Venice. With its brightly painted houses, winding canals, and unique shops, there’s something for everyone. The best part is that it’s such a small island that you can explore it in just a couple of hours.
Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking to explore somewhere new, Burano should be at the top of your list when visiting Venice. And don’t forget to pick up some Buranelli biscotti while you’re there!
Travel Tips for Visiting Burano, Italy
1. Get there early! Burano is a small island and isn’t as crowded as Venice proper. If you want to avoid the crowds, try to get there before 9 AM, when most of the day-trippers arrive.
2. Bring cash – Most stores don’t accept anything other than cash, so make sure to bring enough for your shopping.
3. Wear comfortable shoes – If you’re planning to explore the island, wear comfortable shoes that can handle the cobblestone streets.
4. Be respectful of the locals – The people of Burano take a lot of pride in their small island and want to keep it as peaceful as possible. If you’re visiting Burano, show respect for their culture and customs, be mindful of your volume, and definitely don’t litter.
5. Don’t forget to take pictures – Burano is a remarkably photogenic place, so capture some amazing shots while you’re there!
Burano Island in Venice may be small, but it’s one of the most rewarding day-trips available.
How Do You Get to The Island of Burano?
The vaporetto (water bus) is public transportation used in Venice to get you around the canals and take you to the local islands. It’s an easy and affordable way to take a day trip from Venice to Burano.
All lines are available daily from 6 am to 10:30 pm (except during holidays). To explore more than one island, we suggest buying a 24-hour ticket for €24, or alternatively, you can opt for the 12-hour ticket at only €18.
To get to Burano, we recommend taking the vaporetto from Venice’s San Zaccaria stop near Piazza San Marco. The vaporetto will drop you off at the Burano “C” ferry terminal at the island’s northern end.
The trip takes around 45 minutes to get from Venice to Burano.
Burano vs Murano
Murano and Burano are two of the most popular islands in the Venice lagoon, but they have some key differences.
Murano is famous for its centuries-old glass-blowing tradition and shops, while Burano is well known for its brightly colored houses, lace-making, and vibrant culture.
While both islands are lovely to explore, Murano is a good choice if you’re looking for something quick and easy. The island is closer to Venice and is a great place to wander around on foot. Plus, the glass-blowing workshops are very cool to see in person.
On the other hand, Burano is better for those looking for a longer day trip because you’ll likely visit neighboring Mazzorbo, Isola dei Laghi, and Isola Mazzorbetto. Burano is nice for seafood, visiting the local lace shops, or simply admiring the colorful houses.
Should I Go To Burano or Murano First?
I recommend heading to Murano first, as it seems to get more crowded than Burano. Plus, it’s closer to Venice, so you won’t have to spend as much time traveling.
After that, hop on the vaporetto and make your way to Burano. Even if you only have a few hours, you can still take some time to wander around and admire the colorful houses. Don’t forget to try some of the local seafood specialties and pick up some souvenirs from the lace shops.
When you’re done exploring, take the vaporetto back to Venice in time for your next destination!
About Burano, Italy
Why Is Burano Famous?
Part of the reason is that the island has an interesting history – refugees founded it from Altino during the barbarian invasions in the fifth century AD. At the time, the small fishing village was a central hub of the Venetian lagoon.
Today, Burano is a popular tourist destination with visitors from all over the world coming to admire its colorful houses, explore the canals, and shop for handmade lace products. It’s a great place to spend a day or two away from the hustle and bustle of Venice.
Why Is Burano So Colorful?
The origin of the brightly colored houses is a bit mysterious. It’s believed that fishermen painted their homes in bright colors to distinguish them from one another and help locate their houses when returning home after long days at sea.
Today, the island generates much of its income through tourism, so locals are incentivized to paint their homes bold and bright colors. Make sure you visit Burano if you want some great photos.
Do People Live on Burano Island?
Yes, some people live and work on the island. In fact, it’s still a fishing village, though tourism has become an important part of its economy.
In recent years the population has dwindled from its peak and, today, just under 3,000 people live on the island.
Is Burano Crowded?
Burano tends to be less crowded than Murano, but it’s still very popular with tourists. During the summer months, its streets can become quite busy with day-trippers from Venice.
We recommend visiting Burano in the early morning or late afternoon when the crowds are minimal, and you can enjoy a peaceful stroll around the island.
Burano Frequently Asked Questions
What Product Is Famous in Burano?
Burano is famous for its handmade lace products. The intricate designs are made from cotton or silk thread, and the production process is very time-consuming.
Can I Get to Burano by Gondola?
No, there’s no way of taking a gondola from Venice to Burano. You’ll need to hire a private water taxi or take the vaporetto.
Are There Hotels on Burano?
Yes, there are a few hotels on the island and some bed and breakfasts. the hotels are expensive since there’s limited spacing, so we recommend staying in Venice and taking a day trip to Burano.
How Long Does It Take To Get To Burano from Venice?
It takes between 40 and 50 minutes to get from Venice to Bruano via the public vaporetto. A private water taxi is faster but much more expensive.
Are There Cars on Burano Island?
No, there are no cars on Burano.
Burano, Italy is a colorful island in the Venetian lagoon with a rich history. Whether you’re looking to explore its canals, shop for handmade lace products, or admire the brightly painted houses, Burano has something for everyone. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder it has become one of Venice’s most popular tourist attractions. So if you find yourself visiting Venice anytime soon, take some time out of your day and head over to Burano – you won’t be disappointed!
Have you been to Burano? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!
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