Beyond Venice: Burano & Torcello Islands

In the Venetian Lagoon, there are many little islands to visit.

Probably you heard about Murano, home to the famous Murano’s glass, but you never heard of Burano, and even less of Torcello. But there is something you certainly saw in pictures: super colorful terraced houses looking out onto little canals. Well, that is not Venice, as many thinks, but the beautiful Burano.

It is suggested to plan a whole day tour to visit all the island in the lagoon (usually Murano, Burano and Torcello, but you can visit also Giudecca, Sant’Erasmo, San Servolo, Lido etc.), or a half day tour to visit Burano and Torcello (once you get on one island, the other one is just 5 minutes away).

BURANO

As soon as you step down the waterbus (in venetian vaporetto), you will immediately notice that the island is not as crowded as Venice, and that the atmosphere is much more relaxed. We suggest walking about and follow the main canals, which are 3, and spot all the cosy colorful houses, the main attraction of Burano. If you visit Burano in a sunny day, you will take unforgettable photos! Continue your walk and head for the main square of the island, where you will find a church, la Chiesa di San Martino, with its leaning campanile. If you are interested in Venetian laces and would like to know more about this fine Venetian tradition, here you can also find the Lace Museum. To conclude your walk, stop in one of the many coffee or wine bars on the main canals and don’t worry: Burano’s rates are lower than Venice’s rates!

Interesting facts:

  1. There are many legends about the houses’ color, but one of them puts this local custom down to the fishermen’s desire to recognize their houses in the distance.
  2. If you buy a house on Burano and want to paint it, first you’ll have to contact the local government and ask which colors are permitted on that lot.

TORCELLO

In a few minutes by vaporetto from Burano, you’ll arrive to Torcello. The first thing you’ll notice will probably be…. Silence! In fact, the island is almost uninhabited (there is a maximum of 15 people living here), but its shabby and wild appearance is what makes a walk so enjoyable (and also much more relaxing compared to a walk in Venice!). On Torcello, it is worth visiting two churches, Chiesa di Santa Fosca and Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta. This last one is a notable example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture and inside are kept beautiful mosaics. At last, you must take a picture of the Devil’s Bridge, an ancient stone bridge without parapets.