Burano and Torcello

The islands of Murano and Burano have been on my ‘to do’ list of Venice for years now. Somehow I have never been organized enough to make it to them and stories of how long it took scared me off as well. However the realization at the end of last season that I had spent 10 weeks here and I STILL hadn’t seen them kicked me into gear and I made it a priority to get out to them as soon as possible.


Tuesday loomed free and I did some research to make my trip in smooth. Lucky I did because Burano (the furthest out) took a few hours and several modes of transport to get to. It is in the north of the lagoon and is a tiny island famed for it’s lace making and colourful houses (what I was there to see).

The grocery store in Burano
Colours of Burano

The weather here has been lovely and so the vaporetto ride across the lagoon was smooth and scenic. Stepping off the vaporetto I was hit straight away by the wafts of pastry coming from a bakery. There weren’t so many streets to choose from like there are in Venice and so I followed the main one along and it was only a few houses before the bright paint began popping out and flowers were decorating window sills. They like to choose one colour and stick with it for decorating their entire house, shutters, doors, curtains and handles, all in varying shades of green, or orange or yellow or blue. The whole place was like a movie set it was so perfect. There were men selling vegetables out of boats on the canals and of course the delicate lace shops dotted around with old women inside sitting on high backed chairs making lace and chatting together. I bought one of the delicious smelling cakes and was in raptures of delight at the soft lemony custard that was inside it.

Lace in Burano
Just another picture perfect scene in Burano

I still had some time left and so I caught the vaporetto to the next island along called Torcello. Torcello had it’s heyday back in the 10th century with around 10,000 people living on it (I don’t know how, the island looked kinda small to me) and in the 12th century it went into a rapid decline due to it’s surrounding lagoon becoming swampy and hard to navigate. It also became a dangerous place to be because of growing cases of malaria and the population fled to Burano, Murano and Venice. It now has a population of about 20 people.

The main street in Torcello
The path less travelled
The church at Torcello

The main sight on the island is a cluster of buildings including a cathedral built in 630 and a church built over the 11th and 12th centuries as well as two 14th century palaces, once the seat of the communal government. But what I loved most was the nature of the place! It was so quiet compared to Venice, it has one main pathway following a canal leading from the vaporetto stop to the old buildings which most of the tourists follow. I crossed a few bridges and took the path less travelled and found blossoms on trees, daisies in the lawn, butterflies in the air and everywhere a smell of freshly mown grass. It was beautiful and serene and I followed a few canals this way, spotting a few of the inhabited houses. There were a few restaurants I could have eaten at but instead I chose to take a seat under a tree and listen to the lone busker until I was out of time and had to begin my journey back to the campsite.

Inside the church in Torcello

Next time I will be visiting Murano to see what makes it different and maybe I can slot in Venic’s cemetery island. If you go to Venice, don’t miss either of these places, the outer islands are just as special as the main one!












Even the boats are colourful!
Drinking water in Burano
Burano, notice the rooftop balconies they add on?
The leaning tower of Burano
Glass animals for sale
Casa Blu
Quiet canals, almost no boats were spotted here
Islands across the lagoon
Ruins in the lagoon


A café in Torcello
Torcello, and the obligatory scaffolding in the background
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