Located in the Venetian lagoon, Burano consists of a group of four small fisherman’s islands, linked together by a series of bridges and like most of Venice, it is also run through by a system of canals. It is widely believed that, the people of Altino, a town in the Abruzzo region of central-western Italy, left the town and fled to Burano to escape a barbarian invasion during the sixth century. Ultimately, the Altinos settled here and over the centuries established a happy and peaceful little community.
The islands are held together by a strange tie of brightly coloured houses. While Venice represents and maintains a dignified gravity, Burano with its brightly painted buildings imparts a feeling of frolic and festive mood among the visitors. The colour scheme has been upheld for decades together and was even beginning to fade until recent years when the practice was reinstated.
The vibrant and attractive colours that distinguish the town from the others, is in fact a deliberate feature in its original development plan. Originally, the fishermen who first lived here, used to paint their houses in deep and bright shades in order to distinguish their property from that of their neighbours and to have the advantage to locate their homes from a distance while they were out fishing in the mists of the lagoon.
Today, each house in Burano is painted in a different colour from its neighbors and it is mandatory for the villagers to take prior approval from the local community government, before repainting their houses. For a visitor, it is really a fascinating sight. With brightly painted houses in different colour and hue, each street look like a rainbow. A hot pink building sidles up beside a lime green one, a pastel yellow home is right next door to a bright orange house with dark green shutters. While walking down the streets and lanes, one can have a kaleidoscope view of colours reflecting in the dark green waters of the canal.
A vivid purple house with a terracotta tiled roof will insist the visitor to take a snap of it. As every day is washing day in Burano, tourists will be amused to find bed sheets and pillowcases hang up on a line across the alleyways, while towels and T-shirts are pinned up outside the houses.
Apart from its riot of colours, Burano is also well known for its fine handmade lace. According to a local legend, once a Siren tried to seduce a local fisherman, who was engaged to local lass. But, as he resisted her advance, the Siren was impressed with his fidelity and rewarded him with a fascinating veil of magical foam for his bride, which turned into a beautiful lace veil. Since then, the skill and art of lace making flourished in Burano. Today, while the men go out for fishing, their wives sit outside their brightly painted houses and make lace. There are lots of shops in Burano, selling magnificent laces, along with the famous Venetian masks and handblown glass from nearby Murano.
Burano is also renowned for its fantastic seafood restaurant.