Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bright Colors in Burano

photo by Tamás Fehér

Roughly six miles from Venice, in the northern part of the lagoon is Burano -
a densly populated group of islands separated by canals.

There are many island communities in the Venetian lagoon; each has it's own unique traits.Burano is known for her lacemaking and her fishing fleet -
both have been present in this archipelago for centuries. 

The community is divided into sestieri (districts) in a similar fashion to Venice. Approaching Burano, her leaning campanile can't be missed, but it's the colors of her houses that most visitors come away talking about. 

Legend has it that the homes in Burano were painted by the wives of fishermen when they were out at sea.  The bright colors were chosen so the men could see their homes from far away. 
I once heard a Venetian joke that the bright colors were actually chosen so those same fishermen, while coming home after "celebrating" with their friends, could pick their houses out even if they were drunk.

Whatever the case, Burano is easily recognized by her bright colors.
These days the government has to approve a homeowner's color choice before a house can be repainted.

Artists and photographers love Burano for her bright color scheme.
Another trait of Burano is the style of her buildings - not only are they bright, but they are also very simple in design.  Burano isn't filled with ostentatious palazzi.  The windows are square, the homes are small compared to those in Venice, these are fishermen's homes.  There's a beauty in that simplicity.

One of the best rowers I've ever shared a boat with - Bepi Suste - is from Burano.  Bepi has an active rowing club there: Associazione Vogaepara, and anyone who receives his training is very fortunate indeed.

Next time I talk with Bepi, I'll have to ask him what color his house is.

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