While Murano, Italy isn’t as colorful curbside (or dockside in this case) as it’s neighboring community, Burano, once you step inside any of the canal lined buildings, all the colors of the rainbow are there to greet you, in the form of beautiful hand blown glass. Glass blowing is what put Murano on the map, way back in the 1500’s. They held the market on this art form until the 1700’s and kept their skills very secretly guarded. There is a special technique used in creating Murano glass, and while I don’t know the science behind it, I know the end product is stunning! From little trinkets to massive chandeliers, it shows exactly why this lovely town still produces the most beautiful glass in the world.
As you stroll the Grand Canal you will have endless shops to browse through, looking for just the right piece of glass to bring home. The artisans want to do business with you, so often times they will invite you to see their furnaces and showrooms. It’s completely normal, and sometimes free, so if you get asked (and you feel safe), say yes. Seeing the glass blowers in action is pretty incredible. I watched an artist at the Gino Mazzucato Glass Factory make a glass horse sculpture in a matter of only 5 minutes. It was like he was making a PB&J sandwich, he made it look so easy. You can even visit an entire museum dedicated to the craft, the Museo del Vetro (aka Glass Museum), where you can see over 4,000 pieces of glass on display. It’s also a good idea to ask the museum staff or shop owners about authentic pieces and how they prove that, as unfortunately knock-offs do exist in Italy (although you would want to worry about that more in other towns and countries).
This town can be a little overwhelming with options. Literally every store is glass, glass and more glass. If you plan to purchase, I recommend going with ideas in mind. I was on the hunt for a gift for my mom, a unique necklace for myself and a clown sculpture. Have specific items in mind helped with not getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options. One store I highly recommend is Crazy4Glass – they had the most unique jewelry pieces! I also liked Orovetro (which has a sister shop in Venice, near the Basilica di San Marco) for classic pieces.
If you are visiting Venice, then Murano is a must-stop place to put on your itinerary. It’s a quiet and charming town to spend a few hours in, away from the crowded streets of Venice, that’ll give you a new appreciation for an ancient art form – and maybe some fun souvenirs too.
Signed with Style,
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