Among the many jewels that adorn Venice, two of the most beautiful islands are Burano and Torcello in the northern lagoon.
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Spare a whole day to visit them. Line 12 leaves from the A deck at Fondamente Nove every 30 minutes or 20 at peak hours. The boat crosses a beautiful quiet area of the lagoon with wildlife to spot. After 45 minutes, get off in Burano and just wander around the small island.
Lace has been carried on for century here. Its origins go back to time immemorable and may be connected to the fishing. Being inhabited by fishermen, their skill in repairing nets may have transferred to lacemaking. Although today only a few women devote themselves to the lacework, still significant is the manufacture of the island. In some stores, you will find notable pieces that are absolutely worth every dime. The village even has a lace museum open 10.30am – 4.30pm or 5pm (ticket €5).
Photo by Lopez Robin on Unsplash
The most striking feature of the place is the color of the buildings. The small plain houses are painted with brilliant colors which make the view joyful! Everybody meets in the so-called Piazza Galuppi, actually not a real piazza but a rio terà. The place is named after the most known issue of Burano, the 18-century composer Baldassarre Galuppi. The ‘Buranello’, as he was called, was popular around Europe, having lived and worked in London, Saint Petersburg, and Venice of course.
The renowned restaurant Il Gatto Nero is said to have invented the fish risotto. True or not, the dish is unique! Book a table, especially at weekends. Another good eatery is Da Romano in the Piazza. Besides the great food, your eyes will be delighted with the art hanging from the walls. Many artists and celebrities have been their guests and all of them left a mark: Arturo Martini, Giuseppe Capogrossi, and Lucio Fontana left their works while Maria Callas, Ernest Hemingway, and Charlie Chaplin their autographs. If you don’t see what you seek, ask for their libroni (big books). They will be happy to show them if the place is not too busy.
To reach Torcello, you need to take the small boats of line 9 going to and from the two islands that are just a few meters apart. The island holds the oldest buildings still surviving in the lagoon, having been one of the first settlements of the people who fled from the mainland. It is hard to believe that this sparsely populated island used to be quite a city. Two buildings prove its splendid past: the breathtaking Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (1400 years old) and the tiny Santa Fosca. It is possible to climb the bell tower for a dramatic view.
Along the canal from the waterbus stop to the churches, you will find a few places where having your break or a meal. Our suggestions are two, which are worlds apart. The simple Taverna Tipica Veneziana where you buy your food at the desk and, once ready, bring it yourself to the table. You can literally eat the plate, too, as it is made of flour and non- hydrogenated fats. At the end of the canal, there is the famous Locanda Cipriani: a hotel with only 5 rooms with high-end service and a princely restaurant.
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