An intense amount of evaluation led me to forfeit our business class train fares to Florence and take a day trip to Burano island with Imogen instead. And then catch the train at dusk by myself with a mountain of luggage and two really exhausted kids, one on my lap because there weren’t enough seats on the train let alone any in business class. Clearly I was begging to spice up my day with some Venetian beauty and dramatic complication. Italy has taken my soul hostage.
We caught two ferries to Burano. The first stopped at Murano, a destination in its own right with dazzling glass. We were told by a couple of Venezians that Murano is really ordinary, along with other nastier adjectives, and essentially not worth the trip. I’ll leave these photos here to benchmark that sentiment. What an embarrassment. World class glass, ancient buildings lining turquoise canals, espresso, pizza and gelato in spades. Blergh. What a hell hole. Wish we never got off the ferry….
Leaving Murano, I couldn’t understand why people were aggressively swarming, pushing and almost toppling off the edge of the platform to get the ferry to Burano. I couldn’t understand because the sea dog was yelling his brains out in Italian, and I still haven’t versed myself in it. However, I was able to get the gist of the expletives that were rolling off his tongue with such Italian elegance. Despite activating our tickets and being numbered to enter, as we stepped onto the ferry, he barrelled the ferry wall shut. We returned to the holding pen where Matisse tried to carry Elspeth whilst running and they both came crashing down on Elspeth’s head. Was I taking a concussed kid to Burano? Maybe. Double vision would only intensify her experience of the colour and magic.
The story goes, apparently the fishermen on Burano painted the houses colourful so they could “find their way home in the fog.” Yet the most colourful houses were no where near the water. I put my money on the fact those fishermen were taking on the casinos in the back alleys of Venice, or LSD. Either way, the tradition continues to this day - maybe just to get a competitive edge over that “hell hole Murano” with its world famous glass.
Here is Burano in all its colour and washing drying glory.