Burano Island

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Eye-Popping Burano: Where Color is Key
An address won't help you much on Burano. If you're looking for a specific spot on this tiny archipelago off the Venetian coast, let color be your guide. According to legend, island homes were painted in vivid hues to help fishermen find them in the fog as far back as the 6th century. While neon shades of blue, green, orange and lavender may seem random, they've been determined by a regulated system for centuries. Even today, property owners must request permission and a selection of permissible colors from the Italian government before slapping a new coat of paint on their aging buildings.

Visitors who make the 45-minute vaporetto ride from Venice to Burano are rewarded with a kaleidoscope of tropical hues and a serene island ambiance that seems worlds away from the maddening crowds in Piazza San Marco. While edible vestiges of its roots as a small fishing village remain in waterfront restaurants serving up heaping plates of frittura mista, seafood risotto and spaghetti vongole, Burano is better known today for its hand-hewn lace and colorful homes. In the 15th century, its artistic prominence surged when island women began making the famed lace. Demand peaked after Leonardo da Vinci visited to shop for the Burano lace that covers the main altar of the Duomo in Milan.

If you're lucky enough to visit Burano during the pre-Lent Venice Carnival, you may find new dimensions of color on its four canal-laced islands and picturesque footbridges. A multicolor palette of some 3,000 islanders provides a rainbow of backdrops for costumed revelers. Primping and posing, the fantasy personas inspire storms of clicks from photographers eager to capture the visual feast.
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