Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

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Burano, the colorful Venetian Island




Home Decor






Burano is one of the islands in the Venetian lagoon. Its history is just as long a Venice's, going back to pre-Roman times.

Today, it is a fisherman's island.  In the past, it was known for the handmade lace made by the fishermen's wives, mothers and daughters.

For me, it is always a welcome side-trip from Venice.  It is well-tended, light, airy, and a living community.  Three things that Venice too often feels like it is NOT.

Here are some images from a recent trip to Burano...


The vaporetto, bus-boat, stop is at the end of this street, to the right.  The bus-boat comes from Venice and takes about forty minutes, coming via the island of Murano, the glass-making island.








A typically Venetian style of terrace, built on pillars on top of the house.  There is another one visible on the right side of the image.  They are seen all over Venice, too. 

Gardens are rare in the cramped living of the Venice lagoon, so a terrace where you can sit out in the sun and dry the laundry is a real bonus, even if it does look silly.





The house colors are determined by the town-hall.  They look at historic records to see which colors are permitted for each house.  Rather fussy if you ask me.  But the houses are well tended, unlike in Venice. 








But the homes on Burano are individual family homes of two or three stories.  Unlike in Venice, where all the tenants of a building have to contribute to the upkeep costs of the exterior.





There is also more room and light on Burano than in Venice.  The laundry strung across the street dries much faster than in dark Venice over a canal.





It is fun to wander around the island, discovering small courtyards.  You can walk the whole island in an hour.  Unlike Venice, which is many, many times larger.







Since the extensive floods of 1966, inhabitants of Venice's lagoon areas have come to share in, and reflect upon, concerns over pressing environmental problems.  Evidence of damage caused by industrial pollution has contributed to the need to recover a common culture and establish a sense of continuity with 'truly Venetian traditions'.

Based on ethnographic and archival data, this in-depth study of the Venetian island of Burano shows how its inhabitants develop their sense of a distinct identity on the basis of their notions of gender, honour and kinship relations, their common memories, their knowledge and love of their environment and their special skills in fishing and lace making.

Lidia D. Sciama is a former Director of The Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, now known as International Gender Studies Centre, University of Oxford, where she is currently a Senior Associate. She has lectured in England, Italy and the USA.



I highly recommend a trip to Burano, for the peacefulness, cleanliness, well-tended homes, and the uplifting effect all those amazing colors have on one's mood!