This post was originally published on March 28, 2019 as part of a previous version of Verbalized. I've archived most of those posts but have kept a few favourites, particularly those about travel.
Burano is a strange kind of place. If you search for photos of it, you’ll mostly come up with shots of ultra-saturated rainbow-hued buildings bathed in golden sunlight and girls in sundresses twirling cheerfully in front of doorways. Any maybe it’s like that during the spring or summer, when it’s warm enough that your lips don’t feel numb with cold after a few minutes of wandering around – but I was there in winter, mid-January, the deepest part of the season where sundresses and warm sunlight felt like a long-lost memory.
So Burano, a tiny island in the Venetian lagoon, felt odd. Mostly empty, except for a few locals wrapped in heavy coats. Mostly shuttered, except for a bar off the central piazza that seemed like it was full of the town’s entire population. By now, tourism has become Burano’s main economy – and in January, without boatloads of tourists out exploring, it felt like the island was holding its breath, waiting until spring and the return of high season.
I think I preferred seeing Burano like this. I’m sure it’s lovely in the spring – windows thrown open and streets humming with activity – but I enjoyed the way the island’s colours took on a certain starkness in their winter version, bold and graphic and empty. It felt like stepping into a movie set, or into one of those modern paintings made up of a few swipes of primary colour and a lot of white space.