Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Burano is an island a few kilometers into the lagoon from Venice. The men are traditionally fishermen, and the women were famous for their lacework. Jan Morris writes:

"Later the industry languished so disastrously that when they came to resuscitate it, only one very old lady survived who knew how to make Venetian point: they muffled her in woollies, stuffed her with pills, and gently filched her secrets before she died."

I don't care much about lace, nor about the fish that are caught in a 55 square km open sewer. But Burano is also known for its colourful houses. Stunningly pretty.

The campanile in Burano, like another more famous Italian tower, is leaning at a precarious angle. It's almost as if building a tall narrow tower that's expected to last for centuries on a swamp isn't a good idea. I like to think that when it leans too far to one side, one of the local builders wanders over and puts his shoulder against it. It moves with a sucking, squelching noise until it's leaning in the opposite direction. He dusts his hands and moseys home for a panini and a cigarette.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you read Donna Leon's detective stories? Set in Venice, beautiful writing, great sense of place (later ones a bit depressing). H