The Lace Museum was opened in 1981, in the old Lace-School of Burano on the island of Burano, north of Venice. The old school was turned into a museum to showcase the history of lace-making in Burano, the patterns, documents and drawings. You can even see traditional lace-makers at work, and they occasionally host lace-making workshops for people to learn the trade.
There’s an old tale about a Venetian seafarer who brought his wife a piece of seaweed from distant seas. While he was gone, she noticed the seaweed wilting. She wanted to preserve the gift, so she copied the intricate weavings of the seaweed with her needle and thread. And so, lace-making was born.
The creation of Burano lace reached its height in the 16th century. It was a valuable commodity, and a secret skill passed down from mother to daughter. It lasted into the 19th century, when intricate lacework fell out of style. The school has not operated full-time since the late 1970s , but courses are still held there, and on weekdays, you might see local women at work.
The Lace Museum is open daily except Tuesdays. It’s easy to get to Burano from Venice by vaporetto. Go to the Fondamenta Nouve area to get on the LN (Laguna North) boat. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Burano with a stop at Murano first. So make a day of it and visit Murano, Burano and Torcello in one day!