dsc00304 emma vidal museo del merletto burano



















Photos SZD: (Left) 90-year-old Emma Vidal at the Merletto Museum in Burano, (right)  Johannes Vermeer,  The lacemaker (c.1669-1671)

Every day, Emma Vidal, one of the last lace makers, sits with her dwindling group of friends at the Merletto Museum in Burano, to make exquisite gossamer-like lace and gossip. doesn;t she look like Vermeer's 17th century painting of a lace maker? a little older, a different way of holding the delicate work - a pillow vs. a wooden stand -, the fingers are gnarled by age and humidity, but they are both engrossed in the minutia of their art.


Since the time of Venetian Republic, Burano had only 8000 poor inhabitants (now 3000) predominantly fishermans and farmers. But thanks to the craft of lace workers, the island grew economically, exporting its fantastic laces all over the world.

The Museo Merletto located in the historic palace of Podestà of Torcello, in Piazza Galuppi, Burano, seat of the famous Burano Lace School until 1970, displays rare and precious lace pieces and an overview of the history and artistry of the Venetian and lagoon’s laces, from its origins to the present day.