Saturday, October 27, 2012

Venetian islands: Burano

The Venetian island of Burano is reknowned for its colourful houses and its lace. The houses are painted in distinct colours following in a wonderful tradition, where the sailors returning from sea in bad weather conditions would be able to identify their house by its unique colour. This was in ye olden times before electric lighthouses (another tradition now becoming defunct due to radar technology).

I spent the best part of a day in Burano. We were in a daze walking around the tranquil alleyways, hardly believing this technicolour place to be real, it felt like the film set from a 1950s MGM movie. There were less tourists than the main island of Venice certainly, and it possesses a certain magic that I didn't find in Venice. I think that was because without the overwhelming hoardes of tourists I could see the locals, and actually interact with them and exchange camaraderie!

That awkward moment when you paint your house a different colour to your neighbours but you share a window.

Quiet streets! A rarity in Venice.

I went to the Lace museum (more on that later).

The leaning tower of a church, if you look closely at the churches in Venice, you'll notice that this is very common - it is the old foundations they're built on, these are all reinforced, so they don't tilt further.

Its almost as if the washing was specially selected to fit in with the colour scheme!

This house, Casabepi, has an interesting story. In Burano, locals have to apply to the council, to apply for approval of the colour they wish to paint their house. I suppose it matters to the aesthetic effect of the whole island, but knowing this information, and realising that the beautifully kept exteriors of the houses isn't down to the individual motivation of the community, tarnishs the magic slightly! In the 1950s, the owner Guiseppe 'Bepi' Toselli (1920-2002), a candy seller, turned film theatre owner, began painting his house in these geometric patterns. It has become quite the tourist attraction, there were a few people taking photos while I was there, and I didn't want them in my picture, therefore I don't have a full photo of the facade! A quick google of "casabepi burano" will turn up loads of results!

The vaparetto journey back to the main island takes around 40 to 50 minutes. In the evening, watching the sun set is a wonderful experience.


  1. Love the colour of the houses, looks like a wonderful place.

  2. Thanks for this, I know it was a while ago, but this seems to be only other blog post I have come across that is completely about Burano. I've got a blog post about Burano coming on my blog soon so its cool to see someone else's take on it.

    I went to Burano in the really busy season in August though. I want to go back to Venice a bit earlier in the year when it's slightly less busy (and cooler).