An island of colorful houses and fine lace

Houses on Burano

Burano is just over 40 minutes from central Venice by public water bus, and it's worth visiting if you're partial to pigments or lacemaking.

The island, located in the northern reaches of the Venetian Lagoon, is famous for two things:

  • Its brightly-painted and well-maintained houses (see photo), which are in stark contrast to the subtle colors and crumbling façades of Venice's centro storico, and...
  • Its role as an exporter of fine lace in from the 1500s to the early 1700s, and again in the late 19th Century.

What to see and do:

  • Walk around the island, enjoying the views (and perhaps a seafood lunch at a local restaurant).
  • Visit the Museo del Merletto, or Lacemaking Museum, where--if you're lucky--you'll see traditional lacemakers at work.
  • Cross the wooden footbridge to the neighboring island of Mazzorbo with its rural ambience and modern social-housing project from the 1980s.
  • Spend a few hours on Torcello (a short waterbus ride from Burano), which once was a more important city than Venice and still has a remarkable Byzantine cathedral that dates back to the 7th Century.

How to reach Burano:

  • Catch the No. 12 ACTV water bus from Fondamente Nove (on the northern waterfront of Venice's historic center, within walking distance of the Piazza San Marco).
  • Some No. 12 boats stop at Torcello; check the posted timetables by the ACTV stops for current schedules.
  • Tip: Buy an ACTV 12-hour Tourist Travel Card instead of paying the steep single-journey fares.

Plan a day trip to Murano, Burano, Mazzorbo, and Torcello: