Residents of the Italian island of Burano always look on the bright side of life – literally. A short boat ride from Venice, Burano’s streets are lined with houses and shops painted in a rainbow of colours; legend has it that the buildings were painted yellow, red, orange and blue so local fishermen could find them on foggy days at sea. You can’t just change your property’s hue on a whim – applications for façade changes must be put forward to local council to ensure that the island retains its vibrant appeal.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
A tiny walkway in the Italian immigrant neighbourhood of La Boca, Caminito is a patchwork of vibrant hues on the edge of the Riachuelo River. Built from scraps from the local shipyard and painted with whatever leftover paint was available, the homes today attract visitors from around the globe. There’s plenty of eye candy on the cobbled streets as well, with musicians and dancers adding to the lively atmosphere.
Cinque Terre, Italy
A string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline, Cinque Terre’s five colourful towns cling to precipitous cliffs, with buildings and vineyards tiered down the mountainside to harbours lined with fishing boats. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this postcard-perfect patch of Liguria is linked by the Sentiero Azzurro walking trail – be sure to linger in the kaleidoscopic streets of Manarola.
St John’s, Canada
The largest city in Canada’s Newfoundland is also the country’s most colourful. Aptly named, Jelly Bean Row is a strip of houses and shops with fanciful facades. And like Burano in Italy, the whimsical area has a very practical purpose: for sailors and fishermen, brightly coloured houses helped them find their way home through the fog and inclement weather.
In times gone past, India’s Brahmins – the so-called upper class – painted their Jodhpur homes blue to distinguish them from other castes. Over time, the entire city followed suit and today, every building, right down to the spectacular Mehrangarh Fort, is painted a vivid blue. Tucked into the Western state of Rajasthan, Jodhpur is not the only colourful city in India: Jaipur is known as the Pink City, while Udaipur is known for its whitewashed buildings and Nagpur has gained a reputation for favouring orange in building design.