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Visiting Murano: Venice's Glass Island

Updated on March 12, 2017
bdegiulio profile image

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

Murano Glass

Murano Glass
Murano Glass | Source

Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world and for good reason; there really is no other place quite like it. While there is plenty to see and do on Venice to keep any and all visitors occupied, a quick trip out to the island of Murano to see the world famous Murano Glass being crafted first hand makes for a great break from the crowds of Venice. Known worldwide for its beautiful Murano Glass, this small island is the place to be to see firsthand how this art is still done today.

If your visit to Venice is for more than a day then by all means consider taking the ten-minute vaporetto ride out to Murano Island. Murnao can be seen in a couple of hours if your time is short but if you happen to have a full day available then my recommendation would be to allocate a full day to see both Murano and the colorful island of Burano, known for its handmade lace and colorful homes.

Murano

Murano
Murano | Source

Glass making on Murano Island dates back centuries to about 1291 when the glassmakers on Venice were forced to relocate to Murano. The order was given by the Venetian government as a precautionary move to avert a devastating fire on Venice given that most of the bridges and homes were constructed of wood. Thus was born Murano’s long and storied history as one of the most prominent centers of glassmaking in the world. Today, visitors can still see artisans making hand crafted glass in a number of foundries on Murano.

Glass Making

Artist at work
Artist at work | Source

While there are other sites to see on Murano Island, undoubtedly most visitors come here to see the glass making and to take home some genuine Murano Glass. Over the centuries the prominent glass products made on Murano have grown and changed with the times from mirrors early on to jewelry, lighting fixtures, chandeliers, artistic pieces, and of course the world famous Murano glass beads.

The oldest and most well known glass factory on Murano is the Pauly & C. – Compagnia Venezia Murano Glass Company, which was established in 1866. They are well known for their decorative glass art pieces and elaborate chandeliers.

Beautiful Glass Bird

Glass Bird
Glass Bird | Source

Torcello

Torcello is another of the Venetian Lagoon islands. It is known for being quiet and sparsely populated although it is the oldest continuously populated area of Venice.

While on Murano there are a number of places where you can stop to watch the art of glass making in progress. A number of the foundries have observation rooms and windows so that visitors can observe the process. You can also opt for a more formal tour, which will include the Museo del Vetro, the Museum of Glass. Established in 1861 the museum is housed in a palace that was at one time the Town Hall of Murano and prior to that was the residence of the bishop of Torcello. The museum traces the history of glass making here in Venice and has a number of exhibits and events. If you have a keen interest in the art of glass making or its history plan on spending some time touring the museum.

Murano Glass Display

Murano Glass Display
Murano Glass Display | Source

Besides the glass making on Murano there are a couple of interesting churches worth visiting to distract you from all of the glass foundries and shops. The Basilica dei Santa Maria e San Donato dates from the early twelfth century and is notable for its marble and glass mosaic floor, which resembles that of the Basilica di San Marco. It also contains a beautiful mosaic dome of the Virgin Mary.

The Church di San Pietro Martire, which was built in the 15th century and then reconstructed in 1511 after a fire destroyed the church, contains a couple of canvases done by Bellini. Both churches are worth a visit while you are here.

Murano Glass

Campo Santo Stefano Glass Display
Campo Santo Stefano Glass Display | Source

Another very popular spot on the island is the Campo Santo Stefano, which is notable for its clock tower that dates to the 19th century. There are some interesting glass pieces on display in the square including the beautiful blue glass sculpture pictured below.

The Campo Santo Stefano is located just across the canal from the Church of San Pietro Martire and is a favorite gathering spot of locals and visitors alike.

Murano Glass

Murano Glass with Clock Tower
Murano Glass with Clock Tower | Source
Murano Vaporetto Station
Murano Vaporetto Station | Source

A number of vaporetto lines will get you from Venice to Murano; lines 3, 12, 13, 4.1, 4.2, and 7. The ride to Murano is only about 10 minutes or so but this will depend on where you depart from. From the Fondament Nove station on the north side of Venice you will take the number 12 vaporetto, which stops at Murano on its way to the outer island of Burano. Other lines that leave from along the Grand Canal and from Piazza Roma will take longer.

For a complete list of Venice vaporetto lines and routes check out the ACTV website link. A single 60 minute ticket will cost 7 euro but there are a number of combination and multi-day passes available.

If you are visiting Venice for more than a day consider a trip out to Murano to see some true artists at work in their trade. Murano and the outer island of Burano make for great daytrips from Venice and give visitors an opportunity to see another side of this magical place. Enjoy your visit to Murano.

Ciao for now.

A markerMurano Island -
Murano, 30141 Venice, Italy
get directions

© 2013 Bill De Giulio

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    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Alun. Sounds like you made it all work. I think you spent your time wisely and that was a good strategy to get a quality hotel on Murano instead of an overpriced similar hotel on Venice. As you know there are some really, really expensive hotels in Venice. When you wrote that you stayed on Murano I did not immediately think of the issue of getting there. I can see that being a problem late at night. It's all part of the experience and sounds like you not only made it work but had a great trip.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      Bill, I only had less than four full days in the region and spent two in the city, one travelling around various islands, and the remaining part of a day exploring Murano.

      The reason for choosing Murano as a base was partly because I booked at short notice and the only hotels available in Venice were either exorbitantly expensive, or very small and lacking the facilities I wanted. A really good quality hotel on Murano was good value, and as you know, it's easy to get to Venice from there. The main downsides were the lack of any nightlife whatsoever, and a huge difficulty I experienced in getting to the island from the airport, mainly because I arrived very late at night! Best wishes, Alun

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Alun. Interesting. We never considered staying on Murano but you are correct that it gives one a more in depth look at Murano. Most visitors probably do what we did, which was to spend a few hours. It sounds like you had a great trip. Venice is one of the most unique and amazing places that I have ever visited. Thanks for the vote.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

      A good guide to Murano Bill which I agree should be on anyone's list of places to visit whilst in the Venice area. It offers an interesting opportunity to see glass blowing on an island synonymous with glass manufacture (the two videos you include are an excellent addition to the hub in that regard). When I visited Venice I was actually based on Murano - a decision which had both pros and cons - but it is an option which could allow for a fuller exploration of the island than most will experience. Voted up, Alun

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Yes, it made for a very nice day trip from Venice. We also continued on to Burano, which we really enjoyed. Thanks so much for the pin. Happy New year.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      It looks like a wonderful side trip if you go to Venice. This is pinned to my See the World board.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi FA. Thank you. I appreciate all that you do. Thanks so much for pinning. I hope that someday soon you get to Italy to see it for yourself. Have a great week.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Hi, Bill - I'm back to pin not only this but also some of your other hubs (a few at a time). Created an Italy board!

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks rajan. Murano was an amazing place and we hope to return someday. Many thanks for the vote, share, etc. Have a great weekend.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      What a fantastic display of Murano glass structures. Murano island seems to be a truly fascinating place, Bill. I wish I am able to see it someday.

      Thanks for sharing such lovely pictures. Voted up, awesome and shared.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank You. Glad you enjoyed Murano.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 3 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Wonderful article!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Elias. Glad you enjoyed the visit to Murano. It's an amazing place. Have a great weekend.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Great travel hub and great presentation of the glass master of that small island. Wasn't aware before reading you hub so I'm quite glad for learning something new!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Joelle. Thank You. It really is an art that takes time to master. The gentlemen we watched on Murano were quite skilled and had clearly been doing this for some time. Glad you enjoyed the visit, thanks so much for the vote,etc....

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful hub, Bill! I always found the process of fabrication for any glass product fascinating. Beginning of July, I had the privilege to visit the Waterford Crystal company in Ireland. What I find fascinating with Murano is all the original shapes of all kind and the colours. It's definitely an art and it takes a long time to master it!

      I love the big blue as well as the red sculpture! Very beautiful!

      Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures!

      Voted up, interesting and awesome!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Natasha. Thank you. Definitely add Venice, Murano, and also Burano to your list. While visiting Venice you can also visit the other islands that are just as beautiful and amazing. Thanks so much for stopping by, have a great week.

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Clara. Going overboard is an easy thing to do in Murano. You really have to be careful and also watch for imitation glass that is made elsewhere. If you're going all the way to Murano you want to be sure that the glass your buying is genuine.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Pam. Thank you. We really enjoyed our visit to Murano, it's an interesting place with a fascinating history. The craftsman who make these decorative glass pieces really are artists.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Suzie. To be honest I didn't know what all the fuss was about Murano glass until I got there and had a look around. It really is amazing. Just another reason to visit Venice. Thanks so much for all the accolades, share, pin, etc. Have a great week.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Wow - so beautiful! I've actually never heard of Murano glass, but it looks amazing. I already want to visit Italy in a couple of years. Now I have something else to add to my to-do list!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      Murano glass is certainly gorgeous. What a wonderful place to visit. This is a wonderful hub with all the pertinent information and beautiful pictures.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      I have long been a fan and collector of Burano glass, including a few miniature Christmas trees with decorations all in glass - my favorites!

      This was so interesting learning more about the place and the history, as ever your photos are stunning, I can't wait to visit there now!

      Great job as always, and always the professional Bill.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, shared and pinned!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Carter. Thank you. Now you have a reason to return to Venice :) We also made it out to Burano and didn't you just love the colors there. What amazing places. Thanks so much for the share and for stopping by. Have a great week.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi NMlady. Thank you. What they can do with glass is amazing. Thank you for the link. I will have to visit your Chihully hubs. Thanks so much.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Susan. Thank you for stopping by, glad you enjoyed Murano. We came home with a few pieces for gifts and everyone loves Murano glass. Thank you for the vote, share, pin, etc. Have a great week.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Linda. Thank you. The piece in the picture at the top is right there when you get off of the vaporetto. They kind of whet your appetite for what is to come. Thanks so much for the share, have a wonderful week.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Rose. Thank you. We came home with a few items from Murano also. Very interesting place, indeed. Glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks so much for the vote, etc...

    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Absolutely, please let me know. I look forward to your input. Have a great week.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi FA. I thought the same thing, all these delicate glass pieces outside, won't they get damaged? Apparently not. Thanks for the visit, vote, etc. Have a great week.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      That blue glass sculpture is fascinating Bill and enormous right? I didn't no Murano was only 10 mins out from Venice that's great to find out for next time:) but did go home with a set of beautiful glass beads & an exquisite traditional vase..our tour took us instead to Burano which I loved for its striking colours & it's sublime seafood.. Thanks for another taste of Italy Bill will def share this..Cheers

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 3 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Love your Hub! I have not been to Murano and would love to go. I have been fortunate to see Dale Chihully's work in glass and visit the Corel Factory Glass Works in the state of New York. Glass is so beautiful and what these artists do with it is breathtaking. I think I will link this to my two Chihully Hubs......

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I too loved your hub and found it so interesting. I have a Murano necklace that I cherish, and it was so nice to read about Murano glass as well as touring Murano with you.

      Voted +++, sharing and pinning.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love your hub, Bill, as I always do. The photos are lovely - especially the opening one, which is a great way to start the hub! Murano looks like a wonderfully photogenic place. I'll share this hub.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Another excellent travel article! I absolutely love Murano Glass and I actually own many Murano pieces. In fact, I made a vase full of Murano glass flowers, exactly like the ones in your image as a housewarming gift for a friend and she loved it. I really enjoyed all of the information, images and videos that you have provided about Murano. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      How very fascinating, Bill! I had no idea.

      I thought of a great way to write some travel articles; I was listening to a radio program this morning and it came to me. I'll share with you in a private message if interested.

      Have a great Sunday my friend.

      bill

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Wonderfully presented information with lovely photos and videos. It's hard to imagine that the beautiful glass sculptures do not break outdoors in the weather. Voted up and more!

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Chitrangada. Thank you. No objection at all. I very much appreciate that. We really enjoyed our visit to Murano, it's a beautiful place. Have a wonderful day.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice and informative hub!

      I visited Italy last year and had the good opportunity to visit Murano. Amazing Glass work indeed, as you have mentioned and the pictures tell all. We also recorded the glass making procedure in our camera.

      Your hub proved to be a pleasant revisiting experience. Thanks!

      I have interlinked your hub to one of my hub, written about Italy travel experience. If you have any objection, please let me know.

      Thanks!

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