NEWSLETTER ARTICLES

BURANO - PICTURES DO THE TALKING

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Colour and … more colour

Ever seen those photos of Venice that show brightly-painted buildings? Those aren’t from the main island of Venice, but Burano. Families used to paint their homes in bright colors to designate where their family’s quarters ended and a neighbor’s began, as well as to make their homes more visible from the sea. The tradition has stuck.

Today, Burano is a rainbow of fun, bright colors—and the perfect place for that great photo-up.

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History of Burano

The inhabitants of Altino, escaping from barbarian invasion, find refuge in the islands of lagoon, giving them the names of the six doors of their thrown over city: Murano, Mazzorbo, Burano, Torcello, Ammiana e Costanziaca.

The name "Burano" arise from "Porta Boreana", the northern door of the city.

In these islands the first houses were build on palafittes, with walls made of woven canes and afterwards plastered with mud. They were very light buildings constituted by an unique room, because the ground was too tender. Beds were made of dry leaves.

Later these raw houses were changed with buildings made of bricks and the older ones were used like warehouses.

Some scholar believe that Burano was not risen where it is situated today. In some ancient text is written that the island was situated nearest the sea and that its inhabitants must escape from it because of the strong tidal wave.

Instead in other texts is written which the position of Burano was never changed and which it has saved the island from malaria.

Since the time of Venetian Republic, Burano had only 8000 poor inhabitants (now 3000) predominantly fishermans and farmers. Thanks to the craft of lace workers, the island grew economically, exporting its fantastic laces all over the world.

Today Burano is lotted into five joined by bridge quarters: "San Martino Destro", "San Martino Sinistro", "San Mauro", "Giucecca" and "Terranova", traversed by their mill runs "Rio Ponticello", "Rio Zuecca" and "Rio Terranova".

The last big change was the principal mill run's closing off to build the square, which takes its name from the famous musician Baldassare Galuppi.

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Back in the 16th century, the women of Burano started stitching lace. The work was extremely exacting—in fact, each woman specialized in a single stitch, and since there are seven stitches in total, each piece would have to be passed from woman to woman to finish. That’s why one handmade lace centerpiece for a tablecloth takes about a month to do!

Because of that amount of work and how expensive it necessarily makes handmade lace, much of the lace you see being sold in Burano’s stores today is made by machine. But if you want a glimpse of what lace was like in the time when it was all done by hand, you’ve still got some options.

Handmade lace booties in La Perla, Burano

We like La Perla, a lace shop on the main street, where handmade products range from tablecloths and doilies to Venetian masks and babies’ booties. Women often are stationed inside, stitching away, so you can even see how it’s done. (La Perla is located on Via Galuppi 376, the main road in town). If you’re especially fascinated by lace and textiles, stop at the Scuola del Merletto, a museum with some excellent examples of 16th and 17th-century lace, along with the beautiful, lace-trimmed gown worn by Queen Margherita, the Jackie Kennedy of late 19th-century Italy. (The Scuola del Merletto is located on Burano’s main piazza of Baldassare Galuppi).

Old tradition - delicate art of weaving

Old tradition - delicate art of weaving