Flying into Venice, on the right hand side of the airplane, you'll see the city unfurl beneath you: a mass of terracotta roofs, brick bell towers and those canals, knitting the 118 islands of Venice together. Then, as the plane continues northwards across the lagoon to land at Venice airport, just outside the suburb of Tessera, you'll see another smattering of islands in the north of the lagoon.
Most are little more than uninhabited mudflats. But as you approach the airport you'll see Burano, heart-shaped from the air with its colorful houses and tilted belltower, and Mazzorbo beside it, where the houses stand around a vineyard in the middle of the lagoon. Just across the water from them, and the last thing you'll see before you touch down on the runway at Tessera, is an island that appears to be uninhabited apart from one thing: a tall, square bell tower, standing outside a giant brick barn.