The colourful houses of Burano
Burano is a name which may not come to mind straight away when mentioned but mention the nickname ‘the island of Colourful houses’ then nearly everyone knows where Burano is. The island is located in the lagoon of Venice and makes an excellent half-day or day trip away from the touristy city. I came to the island on my second trip to Venice with my family recently to see what the fuss was all about.
On arrival the main sight of the island was already seen. Well, it’s not just one sight, it’s everywhere. The colourful houses. Already I was taken in the stunning artwork which really makes the building stand out. I have to admit, I was snapping away with the camera a lot like all the other hundred or so visitors I saw in the first five minutes of arrival. This was one of the problems I found on my visit here, the crowds. We arrived around mid-morning and the place was starting to get swamp. This is probably the second most-swamped island with visitors after Venice itself. I am not a keen fan of crowds and whilst I was trying to take in the colourful houses, I was also trying to keep an eye on Kiddo (my daughter) while the others were looking at the art work and lace in the shops. Lace is also a big thing here, by the way. But I have to admit, I wasn’t enjoying it and maybe I should have came at sunrise to miss the crowds.
Walking around taking in the main square, the roads along the canal which divides the island into two and the towers of the churches, it was nice to see there were some people doing some paintings of the town. How I wish I could paint and have a lot of time to actually do this as a hobby. I love my photography, don’t get me wrong but I wish I could spend some time improving my painting skills and come to places like this and just paint.
I was overhearing a tour guide who was speaking English to a group of people on the street to find out why the houses were so colourful. To be frank, I don’t think there is one good answer. They have been a legend that the houses were painted in different colours so fishermen could find their houses easily in the fog (total rubbish in my eyes as a lighthouse would be the easy answer to find one’s way), and then there is something about the plague and to identify which house has it and which houses do not have it. Oh well, maybe one will never know but by heck! The houses are stunning!
I also loved the bridges which go over the canals here and are similar to those in Venice. They make great photography opportunities also and go well with the colourful houses in the background. As I had a three-year old daughter with me and buggy (stroller), then they are useless going over the bridges. Got to carry them over guys.
How to get there
Burano is located four miles north of Venice and takes about forty-fifty minutes on the local boat service depending where you board the boat. The best and fastest way by the waterbus (which is a lot cheaper than the water taxi) is line 12 which departs from Fondamerta Nova A on the northern side of Venice. The route also takes in the neighbouring island Murano (which I hear is worth a visit but me personally didn’t have time to check this place out). Timetable and fare information on the water bus can be found here.
Tips to make Burano fun
My personal advice would be to take water (there are shops there but take water even for the water bus journey in case you don’t like the bumpy ride – well, it wasn’t that bumpy). Also take sun cream as some places are not so shady. The other thing I noticed is around lunchtime there are restaurants and cafes dotted about but they were packed. As the island is isolated and if there are no spaces in the restaurants especially during the summer months, then take some snacks and have a meal when you get back to Venice.
Despite it being summer months and I could have planned this better, I did find the place touristy. However I can see why it is touristy and I don’t blame everyone coming here to see the colourful houses. As a father and having the constant worry about keeping an eye on my daughter in the crowds, I also had a lot of fun with her. In one of the quieter squares before it got really busy, we were running about and taking some amazing photos. We also took in the beautiful canals and sat in one of the parks which are dotted on the shoreline. I did enjoy my visit but there were aspects I didn’t like , such as the price of food probably been slightly more expensive than Venice. Overall I am glad I ticked off Burano of my ‘Italian’ bucket list and took away some good memories.
Please note that while I was not working with any tourism company in Burano or Venice, my review and experiences written about in this post are 100% genuine. I value my readers too much to lie to you. My blog would be nothing without you and your continued support!