Visiting Burano - A Brighter Shade of Venice
When the crowds of Venice start getting on your nerves, and your mood turns grey, that's when you color your life bright... with a little Burano.
Burano is often included as part of the tour that includes the glass factories of Murano. This is a great option... if your time is limited and you don't mind being rushed a little.
How to get to Burano...
I always head for Burano early, catching the number 12 vaporetto (water bus) over, normally at 06:10 from Fondamente Nove.
Arriving, hardly a soul is around, and I enjoy a leisurely breakfast of a cappuccino and a croissant at one of the many bars.
My day in Burano
Then I explore the main part of the old town—the part that, after 11 a.m. (when most tours start landing), is packed with tourists.
After 11 a.m., I go to the edges of the island, down the little lanes, where few tourists are to be found. This is where I hear the stories of life, love, and fishing told by locals.
These stories become my stories, my memories, and the moments I treasure.
While wandering the lanes out on the edge of the island I've met those anonymous heroes who've made Burano world famous for its lace, ladies like Nonna Gisella, who traveled the world promoting Venice and the tradition of lace making.
Nonna Gisella visited New York, Paris, and London, teaching others the art she learned at the age of four and that has taken her a lifetime to master. She tells me some youngsters are once again eager to learn the traditions for the first time in a long time, but, she fears that cheap imports from Asia will one day kill off the tradition of lace on Burano completely.
I hope she is wrong. Please try to support local lacemakers if you can.
Eating on Burano
A local in Burano gave me some good advice once: "order the simplest meal on the menu," was his suggestion.
I've always followed that here and never gone wrong...
The seafood is super fresh, the vegetables come from the mainland nearby, and the pasta is homemade.
They don't go crazy on sauces here; they believe they take away from the quality of the local ingredients. Tastes are simple, subtle, and unforgettable.
My advice is to follow their advice.
Where to eat?
RivaRosa is the go-to restaurant for dishes similar to those you'd eat at the home of a local family. The bread and pasta are always homemade, and the fish were swimming around the Venetian lagoon earlier in the day. Try their Risotto di Go," a fishy risotto that is a staple dish here.
If it's a special occasion, ask for their top table; you really will get their "top" table. ;-)
Ever heard of bussolà biscuits? They don't look like much but they are buttery bliss. Visit Pasticceria Garbo in Via San Garbo to give bussolà a try.
Riva Rosa Restaurant, Burano
Shopping for Lace
Lacemakers in Burano
Burano is famous for its lace, and if lace is your thing, then you'll love Burano. Many believe that they make the best laces in the world right here.
If you are interested in purchasing lace, I really recommend a visit to the Burano Lace Museum in Piazza Baldassarre Galuppi, 187, before you visit a single store.
I found the museum fascinating, and the things I learned meant I could make a more informed choice once I got shopping. It'll cost you 5 euros to get in, and you could really see everything in an hour—a little longer if you really study everything they have.
Okay, now for the shopping part. There are so many stores selling lace in Burano that it is hard to mention one or two that stand out.
If you don't mind paying high prices and want the very best, then Dalla Lidia, the oldest lacemaker in Burano, offers superb quality handmade lace at prices that make me more nauseous than the boat ride to Burano on a rough sea day.
Have a look at Martina Vidal too. Again, quality is high... and so are the prices. There are really some beautiful items though, and it's well worth thinking about purchasing something to support this wonderful tradition. This lace will look beautiful in your home, bring back many memories, and make friends and family very jealous.
Yes, you can stay over and it is a great idea as the island is lovely in the evenings once all the day-trippers have left. If you'd like to stay over then your best option is to stay at a guest house, there are no hotels on Burano itself.
The best guest house option is Casa Burano. They offer rooms in beautifully restored fisherman's cottages and their cottages are to be found at various locations across Burano. All offer a high standard of accommodation, free WiFi, breakfast, 24 hour coffee, bathrobes, slippers and air conditioning.
If you are interested in glass, Murano is a must-see, but, overall, Burano is by far the most fascinating of the two and by far the lovelier. Try to visit both if you can, however, if you only have time for one my choice would always be Burano
There are a few sights to see on the island. These are the most important ones:
- Church of San Martino with its leaning bell tower.
- The lace museum I mentioned earlier.
- Casa Bepi, the most colorful house on the island
Church of San Martino
Where is Burano?
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