Ever since I read Kerrin’s description of Burano on her blog My Kugelhopf, I’d been dying to visit this tiny island in the Venetian Lagoon. I didn’t dare think it would be possible anytime soon, since travel to Italy was not within our budget. However, when we were researching locations to take a short September holiday, and I saw the incredibly, no, magically, low price for tickets to Venice, I immediately knew we had to go. I did daydream briefly of the storied canals and gondole of The Floating City, but to be honest, I could not stop thinking of its colorful island neighbor.
Our third day in Venice, we hopped on a vaporetto with our 24-hour transport pass for the 40-minute ride across the lagoon. Even from the water, the colors of Burano popped against the sky. As we wandered through the narrow alleyways, under brick arches and over countless bridges, we felt like we’d fallen into a Crayola crayon box. (And not just the standard pack, but the 64-count box with the built-in sharpener.) With each turn we discovered new colors – Acquamarine, Hot Magenta, Outrageous Orange, Sunglow, Violet and Mountain Meadow. A photographer’s dream, this palette.
The colorful houses alone are reason enough to make the trip, but I also loved the many details that gave us a quick glimpse into day-to-day life in this small community. The clothes lines crisscrossing through courtyards and gardens, laundry flapping in the breeze, brooms and mops hanging neatly next to doorways, lazy cats soaking up heat from the paving stones, and nonnas peeking out from behind striped awnings. Looking past the tourist kitsch found along the main street, it’s easy to see that Burano is also just a working island. Fishing boats line the quays and nets and traps lie strewn about. The paint is peeling and boat motors are covered with repurposed t-shirts or canvas. It’s not picture perfect, though very close, and this lack of polish and pretension is precisely why I found Burano so charming.