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.