After our aborted attempt the day before due to fog (so no boats were running) – we made it to Burano to celebrate Frank’s birthday. Yay!
Burano is one of my favorite islands of the Venetian Lagoon. It is laid back, colorful, and a world away from the crowds of Venice. It takes awhile to get there so not quite as many tourists make the trip. And getting there is half the fun.
How to Get to Burano
We tried a new form of transportation to start our trip – the traghetto. There are only about 5 bridges across the big Grand Canal, so locals use these little boats to quickly cross in between. It is 2 Euro to cross, and you usually have to stand up the whole way (but it’s a short ride). The boats are manned by gondoliers – they have to each do their turn of providing traghetto services a couple of times a month.
Once across to the other side, we walked to the other side of the town to the vaparetto stop closest to the Lagoons – Fondamente Nove. We were smarter today and had looked up the schedule. Boat #12 that we wanted only leaves once an hour, which means it was packed and standing room only for the 45-minute ride to the outer lagoon. But so scenic.
The highlight of our day was Frank’s birthday lunch at Trattoria al Gatto Nero da Ruggero (Trattoria of Roger’s Black Cat). It was at a place I had gone to for my birthday with my parents a few years ago. We chartered a houseboat and drove all around the Lagoon and docked a few nights on Burano. I remembered how we loved this place.
And it is still popular – there was a line out the door, and they were turning people away. But I said my name and the owner (I think Roger’s son) said, “Ahh – a birthday” and said, “Uno momento.” He then brought back two glasses of prosecco and welcomed us inside (the rest of the line just stood there with mouths open).
They are known for fish – so much so that he could tell us exactly where the specific boats with certain fish were at that moment and when they’d be dropping the fish off at the canal in front of their door – it was that fresh. So we just trusted him with ordering – he could surprise us. What a treat! We started with home-made pasta with spider crab, a specialty of this area, then a fish risotto, and then sea bass, baked whole with olives, tomatoes, lemon and olive oil – washed down with Venetian white wine. Each dish was more delicious than the last and the best we’d ever had. We ended with homemade biscuits (cookies) to dip into Vin Santo dessert wine. At the end, he even gave us a gift of a ceramic wine pitcher with the black cat painted on it.
And Then Some Lace
Then it was time for some serious shopping for me. Burano is famous for its hand-made lace – the tradition has been passed down from mother to daughter for hundreds of years. The perfect place to find accessories for a wedding!
I won’t say too much except that I have put myself in the very capable hands of the ladies at Martina Vidal, a fabulous lace shop on Burano. They made over me and kissed and hugged me when I told them Frank and I were eloping. Then shook Frank’s hand. So – we will be making a return trip to Burano soon to complete the mission.
What a glorious afternoon!