The illustrious city of Venice is a wonder to behold, yet, the whole surrounding lagoon offers an abundance of wonders and rewards for venturesome travelers willing to take a little nautical journey. One such place is Burano. Like walking straight into a Wonka-esque, rainbow village, the delights of this quaint island go far beyond it’s vivid, techni-color facades.
The whole island seems enchanted by the myths of the sea, where even it’s most famed product- handmade lace-is said to have originated from mythological beings. Legend has it an engaged young fisherman was out in his boat, when a siren tried to lure him in with her song. When the fisherman resisted, the queen of sirens was so enraptured by his devotion to his betrothed, she splashed his boat of which the foam in the mighty wave turned into an exquisite wedding veil. The veil worn by the bride became envy of the town. It is said to this day, the women tediously spin thinner and thinner thread to try to replicate the beauty of the sirens’ veil. You can still find elderly Italian ladies spinning their beautiful products in the local shops.
Although the bright vibrant hues of Burano attract boatloads of brief visitors, photographers and tourists, the island still maintains its traditional rustic charm. Walk to the peaceful edges of the island you see young and old fisherman preparing their boats for the next days’ voyage, sleepy, well-fed island cats leisurely sauntering for scraps of fish and strings of laundry drying in the fleeting sun. Indeed, the colors of the houses themselves were historically painted their happy hues so fisherman could see them from the shores and make it home safely. It’s a place loved by locals and travelers alike.
One of my favorite gems of Burano was a delightful dish, featured on the Anthony Bordain show, called “Go.” Now a local favorite and delicacy, this elegant risotto came from humble beginnings. Made from the Goby fish (Go is “goby” in the Venetian dialect”), thought by most people to be unpleasant, ugly and too bone-filled to be worth anytime. However, poor fisherman, probably out of necessity, began boiling the fish down until there was nothing left but a rich broth, creamy broth. The women would use their nylons to filter out all the little bits of bone and fish, and “voila!” a magical dish was born.
While the “Go” Risotto alone is worth the visit, the sprite sights and sounds of Burano are guaranteed to bemuse and delight.