In Venice, the color palette contains greys, beige, mossy or rusty tones, perhaps umber and other earthy, monochromatic colors. It has grandeur and romance, but it is also packed to the gills with tourists and a bit tattered around the edges. If you're looking for a more relaxed, homey, and colorful experience consider Burano, a small island village just 4 miles across the lagoon from the main city island of Venice. The colors there will shock your spirit. Picture an entire village colored with a box of Crayola crayons... the Big Box with 96 colors! Add to that the brightly painted boats in the little canals and the colored flags of family's laundry blowing proudly in the sea breeze. This is a living town. There are no palaces here, and the little, brightly colored homes are reminiscent of the quaintness of Marblehead, Massachusetts. If you are a photographer or painter, Burano's kaleidescope of colors will inspire you to capture it on film or with watercolors.
There many treats here... a beautiful leaning bell tower, great places to eat, children playing, men repairing fishing nets, and old women clustered together making the very thing Burano is known for--Burano lace. Offering unique and unusual gift opportunities, you can bring back a piece of lace, a lace umbrella or amazingly beautiful Venetian lace masks. Be aware, a lot of "tourist lace" sold in Burano is imported. Try to search out the real artisans for the genuine article--hopefully you'll see someone making lace right in their shop. You can also find people blowing wonder glass creations, something Venice is famous for. Every Wednesday there is a market in the piazza near San Martino church and a local fish market every day not too far away.
You can get to Burano by vaporetto (waterbus) in about 40 minutes from Venice. Plan on an early visit to avoid vaporetti full of tourists, or later in the afternoon when most have left the island. If you want to have a really different Venice visit, how about staying in one of the little hotels on Burano or it's sister island Mazzorbo (they are connected by a foot bridge). You can relax away from the crowds and pop over to Venice at night when the cruise ship tourists have been taken back to their ships. Another off the tourist path option for visiting Italy... Burano!