A myriad of islands dot the lagoon, a convenient day trip from Venice,
the most idyllic of these is arguably Burano.
As the ferry sped off over the lagoon leaving Venice behind we enjoyed the open sky, offering a breather from the maze of tiny streets and canals we’d been navigating for days. It wasn’t long before we landed in Burano, a fisherman’s island village on the lagoon known for the tradition started long ago that each family would paint their home a different color so as to differentiate theirs from the rows of adjoining houses. The effect transforms this little island into a rainbow so whimsical it feels like something out of a dream.
Burano is similar to Venice in that it has canals if it’s own crisscrossed by bridges, however Burano has a more relaxed holiday atmosphere, it’s smaller, more local village feeling with much more whimsy.
The multi colored streets are themsleves a visual treat but they are topped off by mouth watering smells wafting from the many eateries that sprawl along the water as visitors dine outside enjoying the view.
Shops and stands take advantage of the summer influx, selling lace, glasswork and beads from the nearby island of Murano. Burano is well renown for it’s local lacemaking craft. We were told that the quality that earned Burano’s lacework it’s reputation requires immaculate execution and each kind of stitch takes time to master. So to insure perfection, each woman would train themselves to perfectly execute one specialty stitch and then the lacework would pass from one woman to another to complete the final work.
A story is told about the lace craft’s origins in Burano. A young engaged fisherman was out on the lagoon when a mermaid attempted to seduce him. However he couldn’t be distracted and his faithfulness impressed the siren queen. To reward him she thumped the side of his boat with her tail,
creating an exquisite foam which formed a wedding veil for his bride to be. The veil was so intricate the likes of it had never been seen. The women of Burano were so enchanted with the beauty and quality of this wedding veil that they attempted to replicate it for themselves and attempt after attempt produced finer and finer work becoming the lacework that Burano is famous for today.
We made the acquaintance of a local woman Bluna whose family has been making lace for generations, she didn’t speak a word of English but she was so sweet and engaging we somehow stayed and talked for half an hour, gesturing and looking up words to communicate didn’t deter her.
Loosing ourselves in the maze of color we simply wandered with no aim, enjoying the afternoon.
We discovered that like Venice, Burano sports it’s own leaning tower, a 17th century fixture still in use.