Venice / Points of interest

Lace Museum in Burano

Lace Museum in Burano

Piazza Baldassarre Galuppi, 187, Burano - Venice

The Burano Lace Museum in Venice will take you to discover one of the oldest and most fascinating traditions of Venice: The lace making in Burano, Italy.


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Here you can find out the lace museum in Burano opening hours and the lace museum in Burano entrance fee and to access the museo del merletto in Burano you can buy a Museum Pass for Venice, Italy which allows a visit to other Civic Museums of Venice - or an individual ticket that includes only the visit to the Lace Museum in Burano.

The Burano Lace Museum in Venice opened in 1981 and it is located on the beautiful island of Burano, in the rooms that once housed the Burano Lace School, a historic institution founded in the late 19th century to recover and develop this ancient art. Following the closure of the school, its valuable archive was transferred to the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo while a building was chosen for the site of the Venetian lace museum.

Inside the lace museum at Burano, you will find an original journey to discover the Burano lace: history, techniques, artefacts from the collection of Lace School of Burano, Venetian manufacture of precious specimens dating from the 16th to the 20th century. Furthermore, you can directly observe how to make lace of Burano, an exhibition that will make your experience even more fascinating in the most extraordinary lace museum of Burano in Venice, best visited in the morning, when the lace makers are hard at work!

Guided tour of the Lace Museum in Burano, Italy

On the ground floor, visitors are introduced to the world of lace: a short film and numerous panels which explain the secrets of lace and the most useful information.

The visit to the lace museum of Venice, Italy continues on the first floor in an original thematic and chronological itinerary, in the four rooms that accommodate valuable evidence of the evolution of Venetian lace and Venice from the 1500s to 1900s.

  • Burano Lace Museum - From the origins to the 16th century

Needle lace developed during Renaissance Venice and probably derived from the bibila point of Byzantine origin, visible, for example, in the splendid mosaics of Torcello and Murano churches, and especially in the decorations of the fringes on the mantle of the Madonna. Expressions of refined sensibility and aristocratic women, needle lace is made up of a complex and creative set of points. The first decorations, mainly in a geometric style, can be found on the neckline and on the corners of handkerchiefs.

In the 16th century a significant increase in the publication of modellari is documented - books of designs for embroidery and lace designed by printers and engravers of the period. From modellari there is a preference for geometric patterns, arabesques and rosettes often enriched with phyto-zoomorphic and grotesque elements. During this period, the art of lace continued to be practiced only in private homes.

Towards the end of the 1500s the great success of lace, both in fashion and for furniture, caused a significant increase in its production including monasteries, orphanages and charitable institutions; additionally, dedicated lace making centres were also being opened even in isolated places.

  • Burano Lace Museum – 17th and 18th Centuries

The 1600s was the gold century of lace, as it became a predominant element in clothing for both women and men. While Milan, Genova and Flanders preferred bobbin lace, Venice created an exception by manufacturing lace with a needle.

The lace of Burano with high relief cut flower Venice point, very spectacular and expensive, forced the France of the Sun King - exhausted by the mad expenses of the sovereign - to produce the lace in an autonomous way. Venice met 'the challenge' with the pink point, by creating even more intricate and miniature lace decorated with embossed micro-layers similar to snow crystals.

In the first half of the 16th century decorations had a huge variety of flora and small animals; between 1650 and around 1675, inflorescences of Indian origin reinterpreted with imagination prevailed, while towards the end of the century, the motifs became smaller more stylized.

The fashion of the 1700s saw the prominence of a more Flemish styled lace, and Venice responded with the invention of the Burano point. Thanks to the bobbins, blonde was reproduced, and mainly used as capes in carnival costumes. The success of the Anglo-Saxon style - practical and sporty - lead to a simplification of the lace, which began to be decorated with small and scattered motifs that were well suited to shawls, ties and caps.

The effects of the revolutions in America and France also had an impact on lace, which was considered a symbol of aristocratic society. In the 18th century the decorations followed the style of clothing fabrics: in the first half of the century abundant elements were mixed with rocaille, in the second half peach flowers and roses prevailed while in the last quarter the motives gradually became lighter and more trivial.

  • Burano Lace Museum - 19th and 20th centuries

At the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon revived the production of lace by requiring the use of it in ceremonial clothing.

It is well documented that the production of lace increased in England, France, Belgium and Spain, while Venice tried to counter the rise of mechanical lace. Towards the end of the century, a revival began: special committees and aristocratic ladies engaged in the recovery of the ancient tradition of lace by purchasing unique pieces and organizing special schools of teaching.

The rebirth of lace making continued following the dictates of fashion until the end of World War II. Since the last quarter of the 20th century, the production of lace, which is recognized as a form of traditional crafts, is now being pursued by the passion of individual professionals, as is the case at the Museo del Merletto in Venice.

Lace Museum, Burano - Opening Hours

  • From 1.04 to 31.10
    10am – 6pm (last entry at 5.30pm)
  • From 1.11 to 31.03
    10am – 5pm (last entry at 4.30pm)
  • Closed: Mondays, 25.12, 1.01, 1.05