The island of Burano is just fifteen minutes away from Murano. You can’t miss it with its characteristic bright façades. It seems that the houses were painted in different colours so that fishermen could identify their own homes even in thick fog. Let’s take our time and wander along Burano’s main street, Via Baldassarre Galuppi, before turning into Via al Gottolo. This is where perhaps the most colourful house on the whole island is situated, the residence of Giuseppe Toselli.
Toselli is, and was, a real Buranello, as the island’s inhabitants are called. Unfortunately, this art-mad island dweller died many years ago, but he’s still known to this day as “Bepi Suà“. The façade, with its striking geometric and abstract forms, continues to delight visitors. Bepi Suà was self-taught and spent his days painting and repainting his house, turning it into a constantly changing work of art. The current version is just one of the many ideas from the master hand of Giuseppe Toselli, who was not only an artist but also a film aficionado. On summer evenings, he would project black-and-white comedy films for children into the courtyard of Via al Gottolo.
If you want to spend a bit of time in Burano and breathe in its atmosphere, I’d advise you to stay at Casa Burano, the hotel project dreamt up by the Bisol family, who have historically made Prosecco di Valdobbiadene. On the nearby green island of Mazzorbo (separated from Burano only by a bridge), the family has also founded the Venissa wine resort, planting ancient Dorona grape vines, known as the “golden grape”, from which the traditional white wine loved by La Serenissima’s Doges is made.
For Casa Burano, following the “Albergo Diffuso” model, the Bisols purchased thirteen rooms located on different parts of the island and renovated them with the help of local workers: craftsmen, carpenters, electricians and bricklayers who live on the island. The rooms don’t have kitchens because the family prefers visitors to go down to the street and meet the people who live in the place; from fishermen to farmers, from restaurant owners to artists and lacemakers.
The vaporetti leading from Burano take us on to the lagoon’s other fascinating islands. The first lagoon inhabitants settled in Torcello, for example. Today, only around ten inhabitants live here, but a visit is well worthwhile if you want a peek into the lagoon’s original way of life. Island-dweller Paolo Andrich was drawn here as he wished to escape hectic city life. He’s the heir of Venetian artist Lucio Andrich, a painter, engraver, sculptor and mosaic artist who created a beautiful house in the Torcello countryside, surrounded by the lagoon. Here he found inspiration for his work. After his death, Paolo converted his uncle’s house into a gallery and museum just a few steps away from the vaporetto pier.
The house offers a wonderful opportunity to pause, take a break and soak up the unbelievable peace of the natural environment.