I have been promising myself for years that I would visit this pearl of the Venetian lagoon and, seeing as Spring has arrived, there is no time like the present to visit Burano; The italian island where the famous lace makers live.
My parents are native to this island, so after gleaning their advice we were ready for exploration. It seems to be paradise, a city within a city, a small parallel world.
My senses are assaulted by a riot of colour, it’s one of the city’s most remarkable features, that every house is painted a different colour. As the city was originally a small fishing village, each house was painted a different colour according to the colour of a particular family, like this, the sails of returning boats were easier to recognise. It’s nice to see that over time they have not lost these traditions.
Another fascinating and unique feature of this place is the tradition of lace production.
There is a legend that tells of a fisherman who had resisted the songs of the sirens, receives the Queen of the Sea, a crown of foam for the head of his bride. The friends of the bride were envious of the veil, so they tried to impersonate it by using a needle and increasingly thin thread hoping to create a more beautiful embroidery giving birth to a school of craft.
Fortunately there’s a really nice brunette who works in her enterprising grandmother’s business and from her workstation talks me through all the tricks of the trade. She tells me that there are different types of lace, beyond the obvious lace or macramé and especially different types of machining and points.
The so-called "Burano point" is the best known and special to the island, the "Punto in aria" which executes geometric designs, flowers, animals and scrolls, and other points such as the "Venice point" and the "point-to-rosettes", the "point controcambiato" and several others.
She tells me of the different phases of production, carried out by different people, each one specialised in a particular point. There were ladies for preparatory drawings, others were then hemming the different layers of cloth and paper, on which to plot the first lace, after the fabric had been attached to the pillow, executing the “ghipur” or "Burano point" design. The lace makers subsequently performed the craft, the point network, and finally the relief that emphasised drawing with various finishes. Last was removing the lace from cutting paper, all sewn by machine and all unnecessary threads were carefully removed with tweezers.
Let's say it's a nice job, to which must be devoted time and for the realisation of a single piece, just for a child can take up to a month's work! I take this opportunity to take some photos while working and go on my way around the island, and I can not help but delight in the famous Bussolai Burano, a traditional sweet treat known as the ‘S’ because of its s-shape.
I decide to bring a little taste of home to my parents, but can’t resist eating some during the trip.
You can discover more of the history of Burano lace by clicking here and the image below: