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One Day in Burano, Lace Island of Venice

A while back, we took our first Mediterranean cruise though to be specific, most of the cruise ports were in the Adriatic, namely Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. We enjoyed every stop, but the most colorful was definitely Burano Island in Venice, Italy.

Colorful buildings along a canal on Burano island

Our ship docked in Venice overnight, offering plenty of time to see more than just the famous tourist sites around St. Mark’s Square. We’d seen those before, anyway, since this wasn’t our first time in Venice. So we hopped on a water taxi, called a vaporetto, to see some of the other islands in the Venetian Lagoon.

Torcello, Murano and Burano islands

The islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello are destinations in their own right. Murano is where all the Venetian glass is made, Burano island is the home of Venetian lace, and Torcello is the now-mostly-uninhabited island where Venice began. Torcello wasn’t on our radar for this trip, but we did see Murano the following day.

Linda looks at glass in Murano, an island of Venice, ItalyVisiting Burano island

Thanks to Google images, our #1 focus was the island of Burano. It was tops on our list because Dan wanted to photograph its brightly colored buildings. With stops, the boat trip took 40 minutes. It didn’t seem very long because the view was so interesting!

approaching Burano island by vaporettoLace making on Burano island

Burano has been occupied from the 6th century, but it only became important in the 16th century, when women on the island began making lace with needles and it became popular among the European elite. It’s a fine art form and takes an incredible amount of patience and time to create. So as you can imagine, it’s a luxury few can afford. Most of the lace that's for sale in souvenir shops is affordable, so it's not created by hand. Still, it's beautiful and the shops are worth visiting.

Tip: If you're in the market for lace, check the label carefully, because a lot of it is made in China. Be prepared to pay a lot for real Venetian (Burano) lace.

Mass produce lace on Burano island

Only a handful of women do it in the traditional way these days, and I was lucky enough to meet one of them while we were there. She was sitting on a folding chair in the warm sunshine, talking to a friend while creating a pair of Christmas bells in lace on her lap.

Woman creating lace on Burano island

Using the few Italian words I knew, I asked her how much time her piece would take to complete, and she told me it would take three months.

Three months, for just one small piece? No wonder Venetian lace is so expensive!

Linda talks to a woman making lace on Burano island

Photographing Burano

Linda sits at a table with a carafe of wine, waiting for Dan to return
Yes that is I, happily entertaining myself with a glass of Italian wine while waiting for Dan to get back. Ambushed by a camera again. 🙂

Burano island at twilight

As it got later and twilight approached the buildings’ colors began to change. We found a tempting restaurant and I settled in with a carafe of the house red wine while Dan went off to capture Burano at twilight.

Twilight is that time of morning and evening when there's neither full daylight nor complete darkness. Photographers call it the “blue hour” because of the quality of light. The blue-tinged light muted the hues of the usually colorful buildings. As a result of the fading light, Dan had to use a longer exposure which it made the rippling water look like glass.

We loved the hues in this photo so much that we chose to use it as the header on our YouTube channel.

Dan returned with a camera full of beautiful images, enough to create a video for our YouTube channel. Watch it here:

 

Inspired?

Here are some resources to plan your own trip to Burano:

If you want to visit the island on your own, see Burano's tourism website.

If you have limited time, an inexpensive, one-hour walking tour of Burano or a half-day tour of Burano, Murano and Torcello may be your best option.

See more: Click here to view our gallery of photos from Burano, Italy.

Further reading:

Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries She has an insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages. Her goal is to make travel easier for others and to offer a brief escape to another land.

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14 thoughts on “One Day in Burano, Lace Island of Venice

  1. I can’t believe after being to Venice 3 times, I never got to see these fabulous places. I guess time, the person you are travelling with and the parts you have yet to see play a part in where you go.

    1. You’re right, it does. Dan chooses a lot of our destinations based on what he thinks will be good to photograph. I choose to visit places with museums and UNESCO sites. After three visits to Venice, what have you seen?

  2. Oh, wow, that first photo is absolutely lovely! I love seaside towns and Burano seems to have a lot of personality. I’d love to check out the lace products, but I don’t think I would be able to buy one. It’d be nice checking it out though. 🙂

    1. Agree with you Liz, it’s fun to look. We travel with only a carry-on bag each, so we are very selective with our purchases. Though I did see a dress I would have loved to try on….

  3. i think i must visit this place for sure after your suggestions the images tells about the beauty of the place.Thanks for your suggestions.

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