Get on board a comfortable motorboat for a tour of Murano, a blown glass island, a more authentic and characteristic side of Venice.
Cross the lagoon to reach the “Glass Island”.
Murano is one of the main lagoon islands and is famous for its blown glass tradition. For centuries the life of this small island revolves around the kilns where glass objects are sold all over the world. Murano is shaped like a small Venice: it is made up of 9 small islands joined by bridges in the middle of the Grand Canal.
Alternatively, you can also stroll through the quiet island’s quays. Murano walks in a few hours, walking through low and colorful houses, bridge over the canals, shops selling blown glass. You can not miss a visit to the Glass Museum, St. Donato Church, and one of the furnaces to see how blown glass is born.
The Glass of Murano
The extraordinary ability to create glass is, in fact, a very difficult and very dangerous activity. That is why in 1295 the Serenissima Republic of Venice decided to transfer all the furnaces for glass processing on the island of Murano. The buildings of the era were entirely in wood, and it is easy to imagine the damage that the fires of such large buildings could cause.
But the idea of transferring all the glass activities to the island was also the attempt by the Republic to control and avoid the diffusion of information about the main glass handling techniques. Glasses were forced to live on the island and could leave Venice only after a special permit. The whole activity was under the direct control of the Serenissima. Despite the censorship of the Republic, many Masters managed to escape, bringing their art around the world.
The Murano Glassworks Museum, housed in the ancient Torcello Bishops’ Palace, was founded to overcome the biggest crisis in the sector that Venice has ever known. In a short time, the archive became a museum thanks to the great amount of donations from the kiln holders who from the second half of the nineteenth century began working at very high levels. Following the annexation of the island in Venice, which took place in 1923, the Museum became part of the Venice Civic Museums.
Not far from the museum, the Basilica of the Saints Maria and Donato is one of the best examples of Venetian-Byzantine style: the exterior decorations of the apse are interesting and, inside, the mosaics of the floor with ornamental motifs dating from the era of basilica construction (1140).