Murano: the tradition of glass
The Venice Lagoon by Houseboat is certainly the most evocative and breathtaking itinerary.
The Island of Murano, not so far from Venice, is not to be missed.
Murano is one of the largest towns in the Lagoon and is internationally known for its unique glass art, with a history dating back to the year 1200.
According to the tradition, in 1291 the Doge of that time decided to transfer all the glass factories of Venice to Murano. They were already active before the year 1000, but since the houses of that time were mostly made of wood, they caused numerous and frequent fires. The production of glass is therefore inborn in the history of the island, and is still today its greatest pride.
The master glassmakers have always been greatly respected by the inhabitants: just think that, at the time of the Serenissima, they were the only non-nobles who could actually marry the daughters of patricians! The economy of Murano is still driven today by this centuries-old art, which is jealously protected by the island’s craftsmen. The master glassmakers are assisted by two helpers, called servente and serventino, who are essential in the glass-blowing process. In fact, not only do they support the long metal rod along which the master blows to give the glass the desired shape, but they also shape the glass with specific tools themselves, such as the spatula and the borsella.
Walking around the island, you will find numerous workshops of the master glassmakers, where you will be able to admire all the whole peculiar process of glass production. You will so immerse yourself in a magical atmosphere and, as you enter these workshops, you will almost feel as if you were going back in time.
The worked Murano glass is so a true work of art: the products are refined and carefully tended. On the island you can therefore admire and also buy many objects made in Italy. Jewellery, chandeliers, furnishings, figurines, glasses… you will be spoiled for choice.
- It’s impossible not to mention the murrine, i.e. very colourful vitreous artefacts derived from a particular artisan work, known only on the island and therefore unique in the world. The glass of Murrina is obtained from a glass rod made entirely by hand and is composed of several steps and meticulous overlapping. The art of Murrina is indeed very rare today: only two companies in the world can produce these typical Venetian glass rods.
- For all those interested in the history of Murano glass and its processing, a visit to the Glass Museumin Palazzo Giustinian, a splendid palace in flowery Gothic style, is a must. Thanks to multiple donations from local laboratories, workshops and furnaces, the museum organises dedicated exhibitions and hosts various past and contemporary testimonies, covering the history of glass production on the island.