Shopping in Italy – Murano Glass

1920s Millefiori beads from Murano. Photo by EvelynS.

Each area of Italy is famous for its long (and in some cases, really, really long) history of artisan production.

Florence for its gold and leather, Rome for religious objects and even marble work, chocolate in Perugia, and so on.

In Venice, the most traditional items to buy are the hand-made paper masks , and glass from the home of glass, the gorgeous island of Murano.

Murano is a little island off of Venice, where glass has been made since about the 800s. Glass making was forced onto the island in protest of the continuing fires being caused by the firing ovens.

The glass-blowers became so world-famous for their craft, that in order to safe-guard their technical secrets, glass blowers were not permitted to leave!

Flash forward 500 years, and glassmakers were immune from arrested, and enjoyed many privileges of society reserved for the upper-classes, such was the esteem given to their craft.

Today, if you want to visit the island, many of the glass-making factories on the island offer one-way transfers free of charge. Alternatively, there are boats and water-taxis.

You can watch a master at work as s/he twists the molasses-like silica into a range of gorgeous ornaments, sculptures, glasses and figurines.

The glass pieces made range from small and colourful beads through to impossibly impressive chandeliers, to highly-prized sculptures. Glasses, plates and platters, ornate lamps, and more objects than you could poke a stick at line the shelves and cover the floors of the factory showrooms.

Light glimmers off the facets cut into the glass, off the fine curved edges of the sculptures, in a brilliant flitter of light, proving that in Murano, all that glitters is not gold ? it’s glass.

*** Artviva have a great range of Exclusive Venice tours and, during the summer season (from approximately April to early November) a bevy of small-group Venice tours to choose from.

For more information, you can also email or call Italian number +39 055 264 5033.

In Florence, we also have a fantastic Artisans tour where you can discover all the trade secrets of some of Italy’s best-known crafts! ***


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