Murano and Burano are really two bookends to a trip to northeastern Italy – especially when in Venice. It’s little more than a vaporetto trip to these islands, both heavily rooted with their own legends and traditions.

Murano holds all the certificates on glass making, but not just any kind. Many of the creations produced in glass workshops are exploded rainbows of color, shape and aesthetic. Several prominent glass sculptures are scattered around the island, which are large and ambitious, but what also draws visitors are those delicate glass beads used in a woman’s bracelet, a more subtle show of glass art. While water life is part of Murano’s fabric, it’s really the glass that dazzles.

Burano is all about it’s nautical roots, evidenced by “Essi” or “Bussola Buranello”, the S-shaped cookies found in nearly all the bakeries. Tourists assume the S-shape cookie is a Venetian sweet treat, but it’s shape actually means the compass of Burano. So for residents, there’s a double layer of meaning to a mere cookie. Like Murano, boats move slowly and methodically in the canal that splits the island in the middle, but what Burano is mainly heralded for are rows and rows of brightly painted homes and storefronts that pop with an exuberance, a playfulness that belies cynicism. Indeed, while walking around Burano, one doesn’t even want to walk at all, but skip to a swelling song sprinkled with sunshine and wide smiles. If you are into lace and not leather, Burano is also known for lace textiles, with several shops carrying anything devoted to lace, not just doilies.

Both of these islands are just as tourist driven as Venice is, but measurably less frenetic than what Venice can be at times. A nice diversion for a couple of days while in the area. I did just that, and came away enjoying Italy even more!

Murano –  Glass and Beauty

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Italian flag prettily dotting the quaint waterside walkways.

The buildings may not be all colorful, but still charming

The buildings may not be all colorful, but still charming.

First of the glass sculptures. This one by the lighthouse

First of the glass sculptures. This one by the lighthouse.

Glass birds soaring & spreading their wings

Glass birds soaring & spreading their wings.

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This Dale Chihuly piece reminds me of a slice of sky that’s been captured and frozen in time. (Right in front of the clock tower in town.)

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Never knew glass could be shaped this way.

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Could be my fave of all the exterior sculptures — I call her the ‘invisible woman’.

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Close-up of more flowers & an owl!

 Burano – The Rainbow Island

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Already pops of color meet your eyes as you hit canal side of the island.

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I loved this sign & the yellow – had to take a photo of it!

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Pink & blue & a speed boat, I wanna live here!

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See that tower behind the red & yellow buildings? It leans a little, mini version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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Beautifully displayed window dressings & flower boxes.

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Even hanging laundry is a colorfest affair.

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There are some green spots on the island, but also a lot potted plants dotting the streets.

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Casa Deo Bepi Sua is the only house on Burano that has more than one color. The owners had to get permission from the local government to paint it like this.

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As you can see, Casa Deo Bepi Sua is a huge tourist attraction.

A final gaze at this delightful island

A final gaze at this delightful island.

How to Get to Murano and Burano by Vaporetto

  • From Venice (Fondamenta Nove) to Murano: it is 10 minutes.
  • From Murano to Burano: it takes 35 minutes.

Take Line 12, which departs from Fondamente Nove on the north side of the Cannaregio district. You can walk to Fondamenta Nove or connect from a number of other vaporetto lines. Line 12 stops at the “Faro” vaporetto stop on Murano (about 8 minutes) and then continues to the residential island of Mazzorbo (another 24 minutes), and crosses a channel to Burano (another 10 minutes—for a total of 34 minutes from Murano, or 42 minutes from Venice).

  • A one-way vaparetto ticket is 7 euros. You can also buy passes to use the vaporettos. Example: a 12-hour pass is 18 euros. For vaporetto pass rates check the Venice Welcome site, prices are listed there.