Murano can be easily accessed using vaporetto line 42.
A mile northeast of Venice sits the small island of Murano, known locally as “The Glass Island”. In reality, it consists of seven separate islands, but they are all connected by small footbridges, and they are so tightly bunched that they are usually lumped together in the popular consciousness.
Blowing Across the Lagoon
Before being incorporated into the larger comune of Venice, Murano was a municipality of its own, and over the course of several centuries it developed an excellent reputation as a centre of high-quality glassblowing. In the late 13th century, the production of glass was a complex, delicate and relatively new process, which could only be executed by a select few master craftsmen. As glassblowing workshops began to spring up in Venice, the authorities became worried about the increasing fire risk in their mostly wooden city, and in 1291 the glassblowers were ordered to pack up and move to Murano.
Keeping it Glassy
Unsurprisingly, the island’s tourist trade revolves around this rich and lengthy heritage, and there are plenty of opportunities to visit traditional fornaci. Many of these have demonstration areas where you can see the craftsmen at work producing everything from simple window panes to intricate glass animals – an extremely impressive spectacle. If the history and mechanics of glassblowing interests you, the Museo del Vetro can tell you all you need to know. Afterwards, take a wander to Campo Santo Stefano, where you can admire the attractive clocktower of the Church of St. Stephen, and the large blue “starburst” abstract sculpture which sits at the square’s centre.
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