Murano is a small group of islands just north of Venice that is world-renowned for the quality of its glass making. Originally working in that great bastion of the arts, Venice, the glassmakers were so prevalent in the city that the rulers of Venice thought the fierce fires that the glassmakers used to make, melt, and shape the glass, represented a hazard to the city itself. And so they moved to Murano and this became the center of the glassmakers art.
The Murano glassmakers have been for many centuries been at the forefront of their craft. The Venetian artisans were the only craftsmen in the whole of Europe who were able to produce a mirror. The glassmakers enjoyed many privileges over the ordinary citizen and were even allowed to carry swords. The only catch was that they were required to stay in Venice.
The Venetians feared that if the glassmakers were to travel abroad then they could sell the secrets of their art. Then the preeminent place of the Venetian glass would, along with the majority if its trade, be lost. But Venice managed to keep its glassmaking techniques safe for many hundreds of years and also the vital stream of wealth that this trade provided to the city.
The Murano glassmakers had a formidable array of techniques and as well as mirrors were able to produce such items as colored glass made to look like gems, glass objects with different colors running thorough then and even glass that had been interlaced with gold threads.
The glassmakers of Murano carry on this tradition and still make beautiful objects for export and of course the lucrative tourist trade. Although many of items are souvenirs such as paperweights, the tradition of quality and innovation is still going strong and the glassmakers of Murano also produce beautiful contemporary works, as well as the more traditional chandeliers and necklaces.
There is an excellent museum in Murano dedicated to the art of the glassmaker called the Palazzo Guistinian. It has about four thousand exhibition pieces and spans the entire history of glassmaking from the early Egyptians to the present day. Murano is the historic center of the art of glassmaking and its place in history is brought alive by these wonderful displays.
Murano Glass InformationMurano Glass Products
Information about the different shapes and sizes of murano glass products.
The Murano island is right next to Venice.
Tourism in Venice
Where to go, what to see.