Photo by Eddy Alvarez / age fotostock
Eye-Popping Burano: Where Color Is Key
An address won't help you much on Burano. If you're looking for a specific spot on this tiny archipelago off the Venetian coast, let color be your guide. According to legend, island homes were painted in vivid hues to help fishermen find their way in the fog as far back as the 6th century. While neon shades of blue, green, orange, and lavender may seem random, they've been determined by a regulated system for centuries. Even today, property owners must request permission and a selection of permissible colors from the Italian government before slapping a new coat of paint on their aging buildings. Visitors who make the 45-minute vaporetto ride from Venice to Burano are rewarded with a kaleidoscope of tropical hues and a serene island ambience that seems worlds away from the madding crowds in Piazza San Marco. While edible vestiges of its roots as a small fishing village remain in waterfront restaurants serving up heaping plates of frittura mista, seafood risotto, and spaghetti vongole, Burano is better known today for its hand-hewn lace and colorful homes. In the 15th century, its artistic prominence surged when island women began making the famed lace. Demand peaked after Leonardo da Vinci visited to shop for the Burano lace that covers the main altar of the Duomo in Milan. If you're lucky enough to visit Burano during the pre-Lent Venice Carnevale, you may find new dimensions of color on its four canal-laced islands and picturesque footbridges. A multicolored palette of some 3,000 islanders provides a rainbow of backdrops for costumed revelers. Primping and posing, the fantasy personae inspire storms of clicks from photographers eager to capture the visual feast.
By Melissa Adams, AFAR Local Expert
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Twilight in Burano
I fell in love with Venice at Burano. All right, truly I fell in love the moment we stepped out of the train station and saw the vacation postcard in 3D. Funny to immediately adore a city I had always considered too cliché to want to visit. But I have a perpetual passion for islands, so I wanted our Venice visit to include as many of the outlying islands as I could hop a vaporetto to. Sadly, due to time constraints and a transportation strike, that number ended with four. Burano, reached late in the day as the sun set behind its tower, insisted we stay far longer than we could. It seemed surprised we were there at all; at a time when all the other tourists had left, we were just showing up. The vibrant daylight colors of Burano become richer in the twilight, the water seems stiller, the time even slower. Venice enchants, Burano quietly receives.
Burano - A Palate Of Houses
Once in Venice, make the trek to Burano, a quaint island where homes are individually painted as if there was a competition of color, all tied together by the threads of the canals.
Canals and Color in Burano
I was only in Venice for a day - a very full day! - but I made sure to visit some of the islands, which are easily reached by vaporetto from Fondementa Nuove in the center of Venice. In Burano, I walked along the canals, trying not to fall in as I got distracted by the pretty colors. I wandered around the narrow streets and into plazas, getting so twisted around that I almost missed my boat back to Venice, which wouldn't have been so bad really. There are worse places to be stranded. I have some questions, though. Do neighbors consult with each other before choosing a color? What if your neighbor paints their house an ugly color that you don't like? The colors are so bright. Do people repaint their homes every year? Always the same color? I'll have to go back and find out...
By Leah Madsen
What Color Are You?
It was said that in the town of Burano, the house are painted based on the family name.
By Cindy Gordon
An Italian Kaleidoscope of Color
My family was in Venice for just 2 nights, so I squeezed in one island to visit just to get away from the crowds. I decided on Burano because I wanted to see the multi-colored houses I had seen in so many travel magazines. And, I knew that the farther away it was from Venice, the fewer the tourists. We took a 45-minute vaporetto ride from Fondamenta Nove station in Venice and arrived at about 6:30 in the evening. What a treat! Burano definitely has character and charm. By the time we got there, tourists had come and gone earlier in the day, so it was very quiet. We walked up and down the streets, which were lined with brightly painted houses. The people are certainly not timid about their colors. Each house color contrasting perfectly to the next. Every street was like this. Certainly a feast for the eyes. No cars, but motor boats lining the canals. We caught glimpses of the lagoon from so many different spots. Senior residents pulled chairs out of their houses to sit outdoors and enjoy the refreshing breeze and evening conversation. The quaint piazza centrale has a small church and no more than a dozen restaurants and stores. The vaporetto ride back to Venice at night could have been romantic, if my husband and I were not traveling with our three kids. Nonetheless, it was wonderful seeing the lagoon lit up by lamps, and the glow of Venice.
By Ruby Seidl
A Rainbow of Homes
Venice, though over saturated with tour groups and fanny packs, is still, in my opinion, one of the most unique and amazing places one can travel. I found myself a Venetian couch surfer and we left the fish's canals to go boating through the other Islands. Burano is tiny, beautiful and a bit less crowded than the popular main island. Every canal is filled with a bright pop of varying colors presenting themselves beautifully against the ever blue sky. You just can't help but take a deep breath of happiness and smile! Go on a Sunday and walk past the church omitting beautiful hymns sung by the Venetians.
By Kate Smith
We walked around Venice, and from there we took a cruise to Murano and Burano islands. The colors we found in amazing Boarno were unbelievable, it's a paradise for photo enthusiasts like me.
By nurit p oran
A place you would ache to come back to
Maybe it is the rainbow of colors houses are painted with. Maybe it is the smaller crowd than the one in Venice. Maybe it is the tiny streets and canals. Or the sound of real people having lunch inside the houses you pass by. Or the small art shops or restaurants. Whatever it is, if you are in Venice make sure you leave some time for Burano as well. You will truly enjoy it.
A short ride from Venice, Burano is the lesser known town as most people go to Murano to visit the coloured glass makers. Burano is a sleepy town filled with multi coloured buildings and worth a walk around.
By Juliana Loh, AFAR Local Expert
Burano: the other face of Venice
Burano is one of the several islands that make up the Venetian archipelago and is about half an hour boat ride away from the centre of Venice. Historically Burano was the area where the fishermen lived, away from the aristocracy and wealthy families... the result being that the the architecture is much less ornate and regal, and the houses are brightly painted. Although this island does receive quite a bit of tourism it is nowhere near as crowded as the historical centre and because of the distance and time it takes to get here, it tend to be avoided by the majority of tour groups... which makes it a breath of fresh air and a welcome scape from the crowds... definitely worth the effort!
By Kerry Murray
Burano is ready for its close-up!
Want to escape the overwhelming heat and crowds of Venice? Take a day trip to Burano! Sure, you'll have to suffer the jam packed Vaporetto ride across the Venetian Lagoon, but it's worth it. I promise. Once you get to the Island head away from the main square and the throngs of tourists to the quiet side streets. Exploring the canals and alleys, while admiring the beautifully painted homes, will keep you occupied for several hours. Once you work up an appetite, stop for a seafood lunch at Da Romano. Plan for a sunny day and you'll be in photography heaven, this town is definitely close-up ready.
wash day for supermodels
my travel buddy and I were touring the back streets of Burano in the Venetian lagoon. the colorfully painted houses drew my photographer's eye but when we turned a corner and stumbled upon what usually is a common sight of laundry drying in the breeze. I knew I had to "snap" a shot of this line. I will hastily add that it made me feel slightly ashamed of my own white cotton underwear- LOL- clearly there was so much more I could be enjoying!