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All About Murano Glass

Updated on May 2, 2017

The Long History Of Murano Glass

One of the most wonderfully beautiful examples of art glass is Murano art glass. The history of this beautiful art glass goes back over a thousand years. First let's explore Murano Italy, because this is where it all began. Murano is a group of islands that are connected by bridges, that are located on the edge of the Adriatic sea, in a lagoon of Venice Italy, it's approximately 3,000 meters north of a larger group of islands which comprises the city of Venice. It's closely approximated to Venice, about 1.5 km north of Venice. With a small population, of just over 5,000 citizens. It was settled by the Romans in the sixth century.

There is ancient documentation that was written by a Benedictine Monk by the name of "Dominic" that gives evidence that the origin of the glassblowing in Venice goes back to before the first millennium. History tells of art glass being produced in Venice well before the sixth century. It was in the year 1291 that all glass makers were forced to move their glass work businesses to the island of Murano. The move became necessary due to fire hazards that were caused by the glass furnaces that were used to melt the glass for the glass blowers.


The Glass Workers Move From Venice To The Island Of Murano

With the forced move from Venice to Murano the master glassblowers although committed to their art and tradition of glassblowing, suspicions surface among the glass artist. The train of thought was that the drastic move to Murano was to isolate the master glassblowers, and prevent them from perhaps sharing the valuable techniques they had developed with glassblowers of other European glass makers. The long passed down stories tell of the Murano glassblowers being virtual prisoners on the island. The Venetian government would take no chance that the glassblowers methods, and techniques would ever leave the island of Murano.

Murano Glass Was Delicate Beautiful, And Utilitarian?


The Value Of Murano Glass

Murano glass of old was valued not only for its exquisite beauty, but also that it was utilitarian. For instance, mirrors were intricately decorated, and even though a mirror may have been thought of as an item to view one's image. The mirrors were, and still are made to be thought of as more than a mere mirror. But, a piece of fine art, that would adorn one's home. This very concept still holds true today.

Any given art glass produced in Murano still has a utilitarian propose. Such as the wonderful vases, delicate perfume bottles or well blown glass bowl. Although I think one would agree, today we would be more inclined to display, and cherish a good piece of Murano glass.

Glass Blowers In Murano Italy


Mysterious Magical Murano Art Glass

Historic documentation gives good proof that man has been enchanted, and well mesmerized by the magical properties of glass. One might surmise that this great enchantment may be due to the fact that glass is transparent in nature? In some ancient cultures, believed believe that glass lends itself toward being magical, and even supernatural. An example, the crystal ball, which is used to gaze into, and predict one's future or past. It's very clear that glass does have the means to capture one's attention. For instance, think of the beautiful sparkling prisms in a crystal chandelier, they give the illusion of cold solid ice. That have the ability to project a rainbow of color when the light hits the prisms in just the right way. Glass is, and has most likely always been synonymous with beauty. This may be one of the main reasons Murano art glass is so well loved. The artists of Murano have been able to harness this magical essence for century, and will most certainly continue to produce wonderful art glass.

Are You Going To Venice? - If So Please Don't Miss Visiting Murano


Murano Factory Tours

If you ever plan a trip to Italy, and find yourself in Venice, don't pass up the opportunity to visit Murano. The glassblowers have shows daily, (except Sundays). You can witness the glassblowers create beautiful items, as they have done for centuries. The tours have wonderful guides, that will take you back in time, and tell you all the wonderful stories that they have collected over the years.

You can reach the island by water taxi (vaporetto). When I visited some Venice,The water taxis were being paid for by the Murano glass companies. This little perk, insured them of having many tourists visit the glass works. Plus, the more visitors to the island, the more sales.

When you disembark the water taxi at the landing, you will be find yourself in close proximity to the Murano Museo Vetrario. The Murano Museo Vetrario is the glass museum, and a good place to visit. It's well worth the small fee. If you really want to learn the history of Murano glass, and the different techniques used by the artist, take the tour of the museum. The tour includes a glassblowers show. If you want to bring home a trinket, the glass items range for $1 to literally thousands of dollars. So, bring your charge card.

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    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 22 months ago

      Murano Glass is one of my favorite pieces to collect. The history is interesting. Do you own any and how long have you collected it?