The Doda family decided, completely spontaneously, to take the vaporetto to Venice’s neighbouring islands of Burano and Torcello on one particularly (and very rare) sunny day. ^^
It was a wonderful decision, because it turned out to be a beautiful day with lovely sights and idyllic hours spent lazing around in the sun, eating well, and at some points, I felt so carefree and happy I thought my heart would burst.
If it hadn’t been for Mints and J, I’m pretty sure K and I wouldn’t have dared to venture as far as we did on this trip to Italy. I’d definitely not have considered taking the almost hour-long boat ride out to Burano from Venice (I have really bad motion sickness) but Mints’ sense of adventure was infectious, and the trip was worth it.
I stepped off the vaporetto more than a little nauseous and wondering what I’d gotten myself into, but the moment we laid eyes on the bright, unbelievably cheery colored houses of Burano, I was bursting with excitement.
However, we were all starving, so it was food first at a charming little trattoria a little off the beaten track 🙂
We ordered a seafood salad and a pizza. The seafood salad was not bad, with lots of fresh gambaretti (little prawns) but weird fake Japanese kurimi (lol) but the prosciutto pizza was delicious. I burnt the roof of my mouth immediately with gooey cheese in my haste to start eating – looks like some things never change, whether I’m 5 or 25 >.<
Mints and I also tried this bright orange drink that we saw locals gulping down everywhere – Spritz Aperol. It looked so appetizing in the glass, complete with plump olives .. but .. tasted like a cross between nail polish remover and fanta orange. Very nasty.
Home made desserts ! A nice light apple tart on the right, and their local cookies – which I think are almond-based and very buttery with a hint of citrus. Would be perfect with a cappucino or espresso !
Our hunger satiated, we whipped out our cameras and started doing the touristy ooh-ing and aah-ing over how cute and magically colored the homes were. Did you know, that in Burano, home owners are not allowed to repaint their homes another color unless they get permission? I think that’s a wonderful idea – here in SG it seems that every HDB is painted in the unwanted colors of the season (bright lego yellow and dull blue, anyone?) and so little attention is paid to aesthetics.
I especially love the bright, Santorini blue on the house on the far right of my photo. It seems almost too vivid to be real. Another lovely touch is that the home owners all cover their doors with linen drapes that match – and it’s clear that they are extremely house proud, from the pots of roses and blooms under their windows to color-co-ordinated awnings and curtains. 🙂
Legend has it that these houses were painted in such bright colors because the fishermen could spot their homes easily from afar, leading them home at the end of each day as dusk fell. How romantic is that ? I’m not sure if it’s really true but I had visions of myself (version: Italian) wearing an apron and cooking a seafood stew at the stove as my husband brings home his catch, back muscles rippling in the sun. -snaps out of daydream –
I’ll stick to being an Asian tourist for the time being.
Besides being famous for its colorful homes, Burano is also revered for its beautiful handmade lace – a trade brought in by mainland Venetians who wanted to help Burano’s ladies make a living. At most of the shops and houses we passed, we saw sweet old Italian nonnas (grannies) sitting at their rockers near the door (for maximum sunlight) making lace by hand or embroidering napkins / table cloths with crazily intricate patterns.
When I saw that, I was inexplicably reminded of my own grand mother, and how she could, despite her arthritis ridden hands, help me (against my mother’s wishes) hem my uniform skirts and sew on my loose buttons and I knew I had to support their trade and their way of life.
That’s how I ended up buying a beautiful linen tablecloth with silver embroidery and matching napkins / tissue box holder, a loo-roll holder embroidered with lavender and .. a pair of floral-embroidered baby shoes. I had a big fight with K over this, who insisted we were ripped off, but you know what, I don’t care. Buying the lace and embroidery was part of the experience for me, and he had to agree when I brought them home and displayed them on our Queen Anne coffee table that they looked just perfect in our home and cost half of what we would have paid in Singapore.
Libby 1 K 0
Pretty artisanal hand painted clay Burano houses we were so tempted to buy but they were about 25 euro each !
Grumpy husband who had to fork out the $$ :
Our Burano adventures over, we hopped on the next vaporetto to the island of Torcello, which has a few REALLY REALLY OLD Italian churches and monuments but is generally just a sleepy pretty island and a popular wedding destination.
Apparently it is the oldest populated regions of Venice, and was once home to the most island residents in the entire Venice. Now, more than half of it is under construction to save it from the acqua alta.
The Torcello Cathedral, which looked very old indeed, and rather sad and forgotten.
On our way into the island, we passed by fields of wild poppies in such bright happy shades of red I just had to tromp through the dirt for a photo.
Gosh we had such a hard time getting these photos ! Kept getting photobombed by a bunch of half drunk wedding guests who successfully inserted themselves into almost all of our shots >.< But in the end, the feeling of the place I hoped we captured seems to have come through – a kind of wild, happy, fancy-free abandon like what we felt that day.
The best hour, however, was spent next to the Torcello when the four of us decided to make the most of the sun and prompty collapsed on the bright, soft green grass for a siesta.
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.