Burano occupies one of the lagoon islands off Venice. It is often visited as a popular tour from Venice, from which it is easily reached by ferry - the seven kilometre trip takes about 40 minutes.
The town is small, and consists of rows of pretty, multi-coloured houses lining the canals and streets, in a whole range of pretty pastel colours. The principal pleasure comes from simply strolling along the waterside admiring the quaint cottages and the bright colours they are painted in. The town completely covers the island.
Burano provides an attractive contrast to the grandeur of Venice, and a calmer environment to explore, and a visit is recommended. Above all don't forget your camera!
The reason for the bright colours chosen for painting the houses is unclear: perhaps they were inspired by the colour of the boats, perhaps by town planning rules, or possibly so the town was more visible to returning fishermen, all these have been suggested as possibilities, or perhaps the original inhabitants just liked bright colours...
...but it is of little importance, they are what help make Burano such a popular attraction so the town are unlikely to change them any time soon!
The main site of historical interest on Burano is the Church of San Martino, with its tower (campanile) visible from many parts of this small island.
In addition to its role as a fishing village, the history of the town is heavily linked with the lace industry, and there are many opportunities for a visitor to look at and buy fine lace products - including the lace museum at Museo del Morletto.
Historically the womenfolk sat at home making lace items while their husbands were off fishing, but this hardly happens today - not all of the lace now sold on the island is produced on the island (or even in the region, some is imported from the Far East), and not all is handmade, so be careful if you are paying high prices!
Other islands near Burano
Mazzorbo is officially a separate island, but is reached by footbridge from Burano and the church of Santa Caterina is the main attraction.
The island of Torcello is also often visited from Burano. Another short boat trip from Burano will take you to the calm haven of San Francesco del Deserto - the monastery on an island still run and owned by a handful of Franciscan monks.
Map of Burano and places to visit
Burano places to visit
See more places nearby in the Venice-Veneto guide