There is only one place to go and buy genuine Murano glass -Venice. A bit like buying an authentic Melton Mowbray pork pie, theislandofMuranois the only place to go in order to buy some of the most gorgeous and well-made glass in the world. Artistic Glass Murano is a registered trademark and a sign of true quality. Indeed the glassmakers once had elevated status inItaly, they were immune from being prosecuted in the 1300s and married into wealthy families. Over the centuries, respect for the glassmakers hasn’t diminished.
The glass itself is recognisable by the vivid colours; deep blues made by using copper and bright reds made by using gold in the melting process. The glass is handmade using a truly diverse range of techniques including filigree and submersion – the method used to create layers of different colours one by one.
Buying quality glass
One of the best ways to find glasswork that is perfect for you is to go and visit the factory itself. Most of the glass factories on Murano offer a free tour. On the tours you can see the craftsmen and glass blowers at work – the workshops are open, allowing everyone to see the skill that is involved in making a beautiful piece of Murano glass. It’s worth taking the kids as well, it’s fascinating for children to watch the swirling hot bubbles of glass being shaped and moulded. Some of the pieces are so delicate it’s difficult to believe that they have been created with heavy tongs. The techniques of creating the ornaments and sculptures haven’t really changed over the centuries. You will see no generic factory products. You can view pictures of the manufacture process here.
Steer clear of the tourist shops inVeniceif you are looking to buy a genuine piece. Although there are many that stock the real thing, however there are plenty of shops that sell machine-made reproductions for the tourist market. The internet is also notorious for this. Real Murano glass is perfection, but with the little imperfections you will only find through handmade techniques – tiny bubbles.
Getting to and staying in Murano
The islandof Muranois accessible by public boat – the Vaporettas, straight from Venice. It’s not a glamorous way to travel, but it’s as good a way to see the harbour and bay as any. The island itself looks a lot like the mainland, but is much quieter. Aside from visitors that have come to see the glass, it is almost tourism-free and very charming. Alternatively you can book yourself onto one of the many tours that also take you across to the colourful islandof Burano, famous for its lacemaking and quaint coloured houses. When it comes to Venice apartments, you’ll find plenty to choose from; I chose an apartment in San Marco, Venice from here for my stay.
Here is the official tourism website of Venice to plan your stay and visits: