On a recent trip to Venice I visited the island of Burano which is famous for its brightly coloured houses. Nothing had prepared me for the onslaught of colour as we disembarked in the brilliant morning sunshine. The strong southern light seemed to demand bold, saturated colours where pastels would look insipid and washed out. Nevertheless, I found myself drawn down street after street exploring the striking contrasts of colour on the face of every building.
Most of the properties were rendered which naturally provides a canvas on which residents displayed their favourite hues. I never saw two adjacent houses painted the same colour so perhaps there is some convention for maintaining the lively juxtaposition of vibrant contrasts between buildings. It certainly made for a spectacular display.
After a while, I almost became used to turning a corner and seeing yet another array of striking colour on house frontages down the street, but there were surprises. While the majority of houses are painted one solid colour from eaves to doorstep, I spotted one property adorned with colourful geometric patterns taking flamboyancy to new heights. Even the drainpipe looked well-dressed.
I loved the coloured houses, their cheerful countenances lighting up the streets and reflected in the canals that criss-cross the island. I found the contrasts of bright shades exhilerating and a feast for the eyes, and I left Burano feeling inspired and uplifted.Posted in Architecture, Blog Tagged architectural historian, archives, building history, documentary records, house detective, house history, research, vernacular architecture