Burano – a fairy tale about colorful houses and white lace

Burano houses

When I got off the Vaporetto in the early evening sun on the Venetian island of Burano, I felt like in a fairy tale. The warm light made stand out the bright colors around me. Yellow, blue, red, pink, green … square houses with white-framed windows and green shutters, all painted as on a picture of a crazy artist. Narrow water channels were like life-giving arteries sown with moored boats. I was surrounded by the aroma of freshly baked Margharita pizza, fried fish, singing the Italian language, and the sound of the sea. In short, it was a fairy tale called Vita Felice.
I was very impressed by the small island of Burano.

Now a bit of geography: Burano is a group of 4 islands connected by bridges. It lies about 7 km from Venice. The Vaporetto cruise (line no. 12) from San Marco Square takes about 30 minutes. Approximately 2,400 people live permanently on the 21-hectare paved marshy land.

Burano does not have a significant architectural monument if we do not count the slightly inclined bell tower of the church of San Martino. It enchants you by its colors, Italian charm, and peaceful atmosphere.

The color of the houses is managed by the local town hall. They make sure that none of the houses deviates from the strictly regulated concept. They say that the colorful, radiant houses were a signal tool for local fishermen, who used them as navigation for their berths when they tired returned from fishing in the evening.

Burano – the place of artists

We often passed a lonely painter or a group of young artists in the alleys which trying to capture the picturesque rows of houses reflected in the calm water with boats tied to old, wooden poles with graceful arches of bridges in the background.

Burano is home of artists. For example, the painter Leonardo D’Este, the designer and architect Philippe Starck, and the sculptor Remigio Barbaro live here. From the past – the composer Baldassare Galuppi, after whom is named the main square.

The house of sculptor Remigio Barbara is located on the coast, outside the busier parts of the island.

House of Remigio Barbara

Burano in lace

Once upon a time, a fisherman from Burano caught a beautiful siren. The tempting siren tried to entice him with her singing. But the young fisherman was engaged so he resisted all the love proposals and let her go back to the sea. The queen of sirens was enchanted by his fidelity. She decided to reward the fisherman. She created foam around the ship with her tail, which turned into a beautiful, delicate wedding veil. On the day of the wedding, the young ladies envied fisherman’s fiancee unseen lace. They longed for lace as soft as sea foam too. They began to weave it, thinner and thinner, hoping to be dressed in soft lace at their wedding, just like a fisherman’s bride. This is how Buranian women allegedly learned the art of lacemaking.

Another legend says that lacemaking started on the island after Leonardo da Vinci bought beautiful lace in the distant Cypriot town Pano Lefkara for the main altar of Milan Cathedral. Lacemaking was the main commodity of the small island in the 16th century. Due to high demand among the high French nobility, King Louis XIV employed a pair of Venetian lacemakers right in his yard.

If you want to know more about lace, you find out everything at the Museo del Merletto. And if you would like to learn how to make lace, visit a lace school named La Scuola Dei Merletti di Burano. It sounds so melodic!

Burano must be eperienced

If you want to relax far from the crowded Venice, the island of Burano is the ideal place. Wander the colorful alleys, have a special risotto de gò in the trattoria, which is creamy rice cooked in a strong fish broth with pieces of gò fish, or have just cappuccino with local butter biscuits bussolà. The sounds, the smells, and in general, the atmosphere of this place surely settles in a drawer of pleasant memories.

And don’t forget to stop on the island of Murano and see the Italian glass art and meditate for a while in the old monastery on the island of Torcello. But about this next time.

All pictures from Burano you find in my gallery: Isola di Burano

More travel posts are in Wandering shoes

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