Burano island: Scenic and old laces

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I have something to confess. I’m guilty. I have to tell everybody: That was my first visit to Burano island EVER. That’s it, I said it! I’m actually glad because, if it weren’t for the blog, probably I would have continued to procrastinate it. Yes, because that’s the problem with me. I’m the biggest procrastinator ever. Plus, in this particular case, you know how it is. Maybe it happened to you too.

To have something worth a visit nearby and keep repeating to yourself: “It’s so close. I can go whenever I want. I’ll go next month/year/someday”. And then obviously you never go. That’s precisely what happened to me. And that’s one of the reasons why I started this blog: to discover my own land, places I never visited or that I visited long time ago and to share my experiences and emotions. Plus it is also a good way to create a sort of diary to keep my memories.

One day I’ll read one of my posts and remember something like: “Oh, when I took that photo in Burano there was a little girl fishing in the canal with her grandpa. I had just taken the picture, when she took a worm and started menacing all people around her with it and I was scared she could throw it at me” or “While my husband Matteo and me were wandering around Burano there were several small groups of kids doing a treasure hunt. It seemed so fun. I wanted to join them! I heard them saying things like “We have to found the house with purple shutters”. Well, good luck with that in a town that’s full of coloured houses!” It was fun, it was a great day.

My Burano island experience

The day started badly, though. The weather wasn’t at all pleasant at first: cold, windy and overcast. Plus there was such a queue to take the vaporetto (Venice water bus)! That’s the thing no one normally says. Everybody says: “Oh, Burano, I loved it” “Amazing” “One of the best places I’ve ever been to”. What they do not say is that to get there is a real travel itself. I left from the Padova train station and found no place to sit (luckily it is just a 30 minutes journey if you take a Regionale Veloce, regional fast train). I arrived in Venice train station and had to do a line to buy tickets. Then I went to the boats entrance (that with the B letter on it) but the validating machine was broken so I had to search for the closest one and go back in line.

There a man, his wife, their daughter and her fiancé were so kind to pass over us in the line. So gentle, so polite! The vaporetto arrived and we couldn’t enter. The man and his kind family did. But they took the 4.2 vaporetto (which is slower) and we took the next, that was number 3 (direct line to Murano). Tiè! (Tiè is an untranslatable expression, normally accompanied by an explicit gesture with the hand or with the arms. It is stronger than “serves him right”).

The vaporetto ride took us another 30 minutes (standing) to arrive in Murano Colonna. The boat to reach Burano departs from Murano Faro though: 10 minutes walk + another queue. Luckily the boat was no longer a tiny vaporetto but a rather big boat. Everybody managed to enter and we also found two places to sit. The journey from Murano to Burano takes another 40 minutes. So, overall it took us at least 3 hours to arrive. Quite a journey, don’t you think? Yes, it is beautiful, charming, memorable. But don’t underestimate the timing and be prepared. Do not expect to arrive there in half an hour, fresh and energetic. Was it worth it? Yes, totally. Only one regret: next time I’ll leave way earlier to have more time to visit the island.

When we arrived was already lunch time. So we stopped for a sandwich at a bar, bar Palmisano. I do not recommend it. It wasn’t cozy at all. They were not rude, but not kind either. The sandwich was average good, but I had problems to digest it. Why did I go there? It was late, I was hungry, other places were full or seemed very expensive. Moreover I wanted to eat something quickly and dedicate more time to the visit. After lunch, we went to visit the Lace Museum (because it was included in the Museum Pass). I’ll tell more about it in another post.

Then the sun came finally out to lighten up our day. Just in time for us to do the activity I love the most: wander here and there with no destination and simply experiencing the atmosphere of the place. And there began the real fun. Walking hand in hand, taking pictures, surprising ourselves at every corner, commenting the colours of the small houses: “Oh, I like that purple house” “I prefer the yellow one” “Oh, did you see that leaning bell tower?” “Wow, look at that alley” and so on.

The strangest encounters were: the treasure hunters kids, the worm girl, the continuously barking minuscule dog, the charmer cat and the inflatable game party. Outside a house we spotted a lovely sign: “Casa dei nonni. Qui si coccolano i bambini” that means “Gandparents house. Here we cuddle children”. How nice! My nonni died when I was young, so I had not those figures in my life. When my husband for example talks about his grandmother, how special she was, how nice and so… I feel sad, even if I’m almost 40. Ah, speaking of grandmothers, I spotted also a lady embroidering! She was inside one of the first shops you encounter on the right as soon as you leave the dock and proceed towards the town centre.

Burano island was everything I expected it to be, and I’m very happy I finally went there. If you stay in Venice enough, you have to go! Especially if you like laces and tiny villages. Leave early, enjoy a proper lunch in a trattoria, wander around. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.


More info about Burano island at www.isoladiburano.it/en

And now, a bit of music. If you want, you can listen to a famous Italian song of the 60s, by a singer who was born in Burano island, called Pino Donaggio. The song is “Io che non vivo (senza te)” (something like I can’t live without you), 1965. This song sold about 80 million records worldwide. It was often performed in English with the title You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. The song starts at 0:39. Enjoy!

The lyrics are different, though. In Italian they are something like (it will be uncorrect in English, I warn you):

“We are here alone, like every evening. But you are sadder and I don’t know why. I know you want to tell me that you’re unhappy, that I am changing and you want to leave me.
But I, that I can’t live more than an hour without you, how can I stay all my life without you? You’re mine, you’re mine… nothing, you know, will be able to separate us one day. Come hear, listen to me. I love you. I beg you, stay a little longer here with me. I, that I can’t live more than an hour without you, how can I stay all my life without you? You’re mine, you’re mine…

Burano Island Map

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  • Jennifer Smith Cochran

    I am curious about Barano and Murano. We visited Murano along with other tourists and wandered through the shops. Do you know if many people live in these colorful houses? It seemed so quiet and peaceful, but a bit lonely.

    • Murano is much less beautiful than Burano! Murano is interesting mainly for the glass. And it is also easier to reach. Burano is very small and has about 2.700 inhabitants. Consider that I went off season. Probably now it is full of tourists! Anyway, I think that young adults are leaving places like Burano to live a better life. It is beautiful, but it is hard to live on a small island and take a boat to go… wherever. I couldn’t resist, for example. Anyway I found it more genuine than other places, with kids playing and pets and locals with their grocery store bags. It was nice.