Posted by: travelrat | June 25, 2007

The Bicycles of Burano


21st March 2007 (continued) Burano

Last time, we were by the lighthouse at Murano, waiting for the vaporetto to Burano. That’s the island where the lace-manufacturing industry has its centre. Like the glass of Murano, the lace is beautiful, but expensive, and, if you are female, or have a lady with you, I’d strongly advise keeping a firm grip on your credit card.

Lace aside, even if you didn’t like Venice itself, you’ll probably like Burano. The minute we landed, there was something different about the place, then I realised what it was. I imagined somebody who lived on the main island visiting:

‘Papa! What is that stuff on the ground?’ ‘It’s called grass, Luigi!’ … although, to be fair, there may well be grass on the main island; we just didn’t see any.

Burano is much quieter than the main island. There are canals, but nothing like as busy. And, most of the houses are painted in bright colours, rather than the peeling stucco revealing ancient brickwork that I’ve come to associate with Venice. In fact, it looks more like the Netherlands than Italy!

The Dutch comparison is heightened even more by the means of transport. Bicycles! The only wheeled transport we saw on the other two islands were handcarts delivering goods. But, a bicycle is more practicable on Burano.

And, what bikes! My Grandma used to ride one in the 1920s, when she was a District Nurse!

Which left me with an unanswered question. Were they lovingly passed from father to son, and mother to daughter? Or, are they modern bikes, built in a retro style?

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