The English writer James Morris (now Jan Morris) describes in his Venice book (1960) in Chapter 27 Island Towns the charming island of Burano :
“This is the island town of Burano. Its campanile leans at a comical angle, and it is packed tightly with hundreds of bright little houses, like a vivid adobe village in a dismal desert: red and blue houses, yellow and orange and blazing white, a jumble of primary colours…”.
Everyone knows Burano is famous for these strikingly coloured houses.
Legend goes that in this way tired fishermen were able to recognize their homes when returning back home in foggy winter days. Someone suggests the colours originally corresponded to the different professions of the inhabitants. More likely proud Buranelli just wished to embellish their plain and shabby looking houses in such a small poor village of fishermen.
So striking red, blazing blue, intense purple, pistacchio green colours contrast still nowadays with the white Istrian stones of architraves of doors and windows.
In David Lean‘s movie Summertime dating back to 1955 Rossano Brazzi and Katherine Hepburn reach by private boat Burano. Rossano says, this is ‘L’isola dove si infrange l’arcobaleno’.
And what does that means, asks Katherine Hepburn.
It’s the island where the rainbow fell (into the lagoon), replies good-looking Rossano.
But check out these strange geometrical patterns! Do you know the story behind this specific house in Burano?
This house was owned by Giuseppe Toselli (1920-2002), nicknamed Bepi Suà. He started in the Sixties painting different geometrical forms on the small facade of his house and repainting them as soften as possible.
But elderly Buranelli remember him very affectionately for something else… He would hang a big white sheet in the courtyard in front of his house and show old movies such as Laurel and Hardy or the Ridolini clown.
As a young man in the Fifties he worked in the cinema Favin, the only one on the island. When it closed, he inherited all cinema equipment and liked to entertain kids with these movies, and during the day he sold candies and sweets in the main square of Burano.
You cannot miss this builing when in Burano !
by Fiona Giusto
qualified guide in Venice