Tourist Guide Venice

Murano Island

Venice is a city that grew out of many smaller islands in the Venetian lagoon. Nowhere is this clearer than on a trip to the neighbouring island of Murano. Those who arrive by boat to Murano will feel as though they have just landed in a miniature Venice. Even here there are small canals, bridges, palaces and churches. Of course in Murano everything is one size smaller and despite its popularity and many tourists, is still a little quieter and less hectic than Venice. Murano is made up of five islands and presently has around 7000 inhabitants.

The island is world famous mainly for the skills of its glass blowers. Man has been able to produce glass since the antiquity. The knowledge of this skill was lost however, first in Europe and only returned to central Europe again through trade between Byzantine and Venice. Venetians welcomed the art of glass blowing however they greatly feared the fires that could result from the flames. In the maze of narrow streets in Venice, fire had a devastating effect; hence the glassblowers settled far away on the island of Murano. They have remained there ever since and have remained unrivalled in their art.

church of Murano
Source:        Photographer: Claudia Guth

On the waterfront of Murano rows of glass shops stand one after the other. Here the visitor is presented with the entire range of the Murano glass industry. From Kitsch animal figures to super expensive elegant glass designs from renowned studios- everything is available. It is simply a must to peer over the shoulder of a Murano glass blower in action. Many workshops are open for visitors and almost always without cost.

Another must is a visit to the Glass Museum – the ‘Museo dell’Arte Vetraria’. Comprising around 4000 objects here the history of glass is reconstructed. Almost everything is based on the thousand years in which Murano has produced glass. In the museum there are also some glass exhibits which originated in ancient Rome.

It is not glass but rather stone that dominates the ‘Basilica di Santa Maria e Donato’ – the main church of Murano. It was founded in the 7th century and completed to its present form in 1150. This makes it one of the oldest buildings in the entire lagoon. Worth seeing are its mosaic floors from the 12th Century.

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