Burano – A Colorful Gem in the Venice Lagoon

Burano boats Photo by Margie Miklas On your next trip to Venice, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the unique island of Burano. This community has charm of its own with its brightly painted small houses that  artists and photographers dream about.

Burano streets Photo by Margie MiklasLocated in the Venetian lagoon, Burano is just seven kilometers from Venice, or forty minutes by vaporetto, or water taxi.

Fondamente Nove, widebodied vaporetto-style boatsWide-bodied vaporetto-style boats run from the Fondamente Nove stop in Venice to the islands in the Venetian lagoon.

Burano wide vaporetto style boats Photo by Margie MiklasThe tiny island of Burano  consists of four individual islands connected together by bridges. Originally a fishing village, Burano became famous as a lacemaking community in the 16th century. Although there is a school of lacemaking, few women perform this craft today, as it is very tedious and expensive.

Burano photo by Margie MiklasAn estimated 4000 to 7000 people live on this tiny island today, and they live inside their houses as well as outside, sometimes frying their fish and ironing their clothes in the streets. You will not find any overnight accommodations here, and the only restaurants are small trattorias and bars with outdoor seating areas. Burano is definitely a place with lots of ambience, which is why I enjoy it so much.

Burano laundry photo by Margie MiklasAn easy place to explore on foot, Burano’s main attraction for me are the brightly painted houses with clothes hanging out to dry. Around each corner the scene is more interesting than the last. With its narrow streets, there is basically one main street, Calle Galuppi, which  is filled with shops and small cafes such as Bar Caffe Palmisano.

Burano Bar Palmisano photo by Margie MiklasYou know I had to stop in here to  enjoy a cappuccino along with some of the famous Italian S-shaped cookies, my favorite.

Burano cookies photo by Margie MiklasCalle Galuppi is also a favorite with locals for their evening stroll or passeggiata and everyday socializing. The shops here also are painted in bright colors, keeping with the same tradition as the houses.

Gasoline pumps appear at the end of a canal. No cars here but of course the boats need fuel.Burano gas pumps Photo by Margie MiklasThe colorful houses attract a lot of artists, and the famous French designer and artist Philippe Starck actually owns a home here.

Burano boats Photo by Margie MIklasI found it interesting that whenever a resident wishes to change the color of his home, he is required to submit the request to the government. A system is in place to insure that variety continues in the colors, and so different areas of Burano have different color combinations. This tiny island of Burano  truly is one of a kind, separating it from the other Venetian islands.

Burano Photo by Margie MiklasTradition attributes the story behind the colorful houses to the local fishermen. Supposedly, they painted their houses bright colors, different from one another, so that they could see them when returning from the sea in the fog. This seems like it might have origins in truth, but no matter the reason, the houses in Burano make visiting this island an unforgettable memory.

Burano photo by Margie MiklasA stay in Venice is wonderful and usually crowded, but a few hours on one of its Venetian islands made me feel like I was in another place altogether. Don’t miss this gem in the Veneto!

Have you ever been to Burano?  I’d love to hear your feedback, so please leave a comment.

Ciao and grazie.

If you haven’t been to my Instagram page, please check it out…Lots of photos from Italy there.


24 Responses

  1. dollygoolsby

    This post brought back some good memories. I have visited Burano on several occasions. My friend noted that the laundry hanging out on the upper stories, seemed to be color-coordinated to the color of the house. I love these Crayola-painted homes.

  2. Book Club Mom

    Looks like a wonderful place to visit since I love colorful places. Your story about fishermen painting their houses different colors so they could see them from the water reminds me of all the sailing I did on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey as a kid. We would always find our way on the water by looking for one particular house – a bright pink one. It definitely stood out and the owners had kids and grandkids who were always out on boats. I wonder if they chose pink for the same reason as the Venice fishermen who picked the bright colors!

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Barbara for sharing your experience about finding your way home while sailing near the Jersey shore. Very interesting to be sure…A plausible explanation for the bright colors in Burano!! Glad you enjoyed my post!!

  3. germac4

    Thanks Margie, and I’m just sorry I didn’t see your blog before we left for Italy, but will catch up with your posts now. There is so much to love about Italy isn’t there? I hope you can continue to visit and bring back great stories for your blog.

  4. germac4

    We went to Venice in May, (from Australia) and visited Burano while there. Unfortunately it was a very dull wet day when we visited, so it was great to see your photos with the sun shining. Despite the weather, it was wonderful to do the trip around the lagoon and also see the distinctive colourful houses in Burano.

    • margieinitaly

      Ciao Gerrie! Thanks so much for your feedback. A rainy day might not be the best opportunity for photos but at least you enjoyed the trip in the lagoon and walking around the island. I guess you may have to return!! Glad to connect. I am happy to have discovered your blog!!

  5. Un po' di pepe

    Belle foto! The first one looks like a painting. It’s been over 20 years since I have been to Venezia-yikes! Burano and Torcello are among my favourite sites. Ciao, Cristina

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Tony..I think you may have to stay in Italy for a month to do and see all the things you’d like!! Always so much to see and never enough time!!

  6. stellalucentellc

    Hi Margie. Lovely photos! I’ve been to Burano and I agree – it is well worth a day trip around the lagoon to visit Murano and see how lace is made and purchase some for home. The same route will also take you to Murano for a glass making demonstration and more fabulous hand made Italian craftsmanship to buy.

  7. hometoitaly

    A good day trip but avoid the weekends! Took over 2 hrs to get back because of the crowd and no extra vaporetti.

    If you return, meet the only baker in town. His shop is on the way to the lace store, another interesting lady there

    Lee Laurino




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