For as long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to bold colors. I wonder if it’s because our family used Fiestaware as our dinnerware—plates, bowls, cups, and saucers in red, blue, yellow, green, and more. Today, I still have most of that Fiestaware, but it’s considered vintage and collectible, so I no longer use it; instead, my kitchen cupboard is packed with new Fiestaware, which comes in even more colors.
Whatever the reason, I love color. And I’ve always been delighted when my travels take me to a city—or a part of a city, or even just a street—that bursts with it. The La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires, where I visited as host of a Penn State Alumni Association tour to Antarctica in 2002, was probably the first such place for me—and I’m really looking forward to seeing it again when I host another Alumni Association trip to the Antarctic next January.
St. John’s, Newfoundland, was next; I was there in 2004 as the first stop on a NatHab trip that mostly focused on puffins and whales and icebergs. There, I came upon a neighborhood full of brightly painted houses, an area that I later learned is known as Jellybean Row. More recently, I went on a photography trip in 2012 to Mexico, where we spent time in the beautiful city of Guanajuato, shooting sweeping vistas of color from above the city and strolling around the neighborhoods to photograph boldly colored houses.
A year or so after that, I read an article about a beautiful place in Italy called Burano, where every house is a different color. I knew I’d be hosting a Penn State trip in Italy the following spring, but had no idea whether Burano was anywhere near where we’d be. A quick Google search told me that Burano is an island that’s part of Venice—exactly where I was planning to go on my own after the main trip was over. I figured out in advance how to get to it: You take the No. 12 vaporetto (water bus) from the Fondamente Nove stop in Venice across the lagoon, about a 45-minute ride. When I got off at Burano, I immediately felt as though I had stepped into some technicolor wonderland. I wandered all over the town, taking in the multicolored scene, and thinking, How can you help but be happy in a place like this?
There are plenty more such cities worldwide: Portofino, Italy; Copenhagen; parts of Charleston, S.C.; many of the towns in Italy’s Cinque Terra; Bergen, Norway; the beachfront in Capitola, Calif.; and many more. Just the other day a Facebook friend of mine, Sandy Meyer, posted a photo of colorful houses in a town in Ireland called Kinsale. Maybe you know of, or have visited, some others?
Below is a slide show of some of the more richly colored locales that I know of; some of the photos are mine, and others I’m using with permission. Enjoy.
Procida, Italy: Shamballah
Rainbow Row, Charleston: Allison Richards
Copenhagen: John Anes
La Boca: Sandeepa and Chetan