Tuesday, November 20The Voice of London

Discover the secret colours of Venice on Burano island

A weekend getaway for your perfect profile picture

The monochromatic uniformity of London’s white, marble buildings have their own grandiose allure but sometimes the splash of red buses and obsolete phone booths is not enough. And candid shots around the city in the hippest, trendiest coffee shops in Shoreditch have become too obvious. But you still want nothing too touristy – no jump shots in front of the Eiffel Tower, no awkward smiles in front of a giant cathedral and definitely no selfies against anything (and God forbid, a selfie stick). A last minute weekend trip to Venice offers the chance to kickstart your week with a picturesque Instagram post to boast your best profile picture yet, as well as vignetted photos of “authentic” pasta and some vino.

A little Venetian island offers intertwined streets of personal photo studios with the perfect natural lighting of the Italian sun. Each little house in town is painted a different colour, forming a train of unique backdrops for those wise enough to take a detour from the understandably captivating sight of the Venetian mainland. Tourists, photographers and models alike are mesmerised as soon as the hour-long murmur of the ferry motor ends ashore the fairy tale village and its perfect reflection in the tranquil waters of channels. The question of whether the 20 euros and the seasickness are all worth it is no longer valid – and along with it, the apparent euphoria of digital abstinence or the moral value of humility. A photo is a must and it is definitely going on the Snapchat streak.

Legend has it that the residential houses of mostly local fishermen and their lovely wives (often the ladies behind the traditional lace tombolos) were painted in vibrant colours for the boats sailing in and out of the island. To make the tiny island visible amidst the waters and the fog, the colours that mimic the local vivid fishing boats of the island were taken as inspiration to paint the town red – and other colours on and off the rainbow. Take a minute to marvel at the manifestation of the Italian fishermen’s fashionable taste in colour. And take another to soak in the fact that the colours of the houses follow a specific scheme, originated from the golden age of its development. Accordingly, if a resident has grown tired of the colour of their house, they must file an official request to the government for approval to make a change. 

Strike a pose. Find your best angle. No one is there to judge.

Not only the sheer colour of the walls but also the aesthetic decor of the architectural facades add to the charm of each house. The doorsteps are interwoven and wired by calm green waters of the narrow channels as they offer the shimmer to the scenic town. Doors are also painted in a certain colour in composition with the walls and their frames are adorned with tasteful additions like flowers, bells and Burano’s own lacework. Window sills are curtained with patterned silk to rightfully shield the residents and perhaps serve as reminders for the visitor that what we are seeing is not, in fact, a production set but private property. The smiles of approval when you meet eyes with a local resident, reassures us that photos are, however, welcome.

Take a couple hours away from the main island of Venice to find the happiest landscape along the waters

The flight out of London to Venice takes a little over two hours and they come as cheap as 30 pounds, if you plan ahead. But even in your last minute, finding tickets under 50 pounds should not be a problem. And while it is easy to get stuck in the beauty of Venice as its own, for the city’s hidden colours, hop on a taxi boat to Burano Island to discover the secret colours of the island. No one will judge you when you strike a pose – we are all on the same boat.

JENNY JIN LEE | SUBBED BY LOUANNA ERARD

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