We often get questions about the possibility of visiting a factory or a workshop in Murano and witnessing the creation of famous Murano Glass. Unfortunately the artisans we work with and many other high quality Murano glass artists do not open the doors of their workshops to tourists. The main reasons are:
- The artisans consider their business a serious affair and heavily guard their glass-making secrets, so they would like to avoid any unnecessary distractions or intrusions
- The main expertise of the artisans is in production of Murano glass and not in entertaining tourists or explaining the process to them.
- The workshops arent’s staffed to handle the inflow of tourists
- No factories are usually interested in tourist visits just for the sake of showing them the glass-making process. Those factories that agree to hold these demonstrations do so for a chance to sell their wares, often in a pushy way and for above-average price.
If you would still like to see how Murano Glass is made, there is a place in Venice itself called Vecchia Murano that offers free demonstrations (of course with a chance to buy something from their massive store). Vecchia Murano is located near Piazza San Marco right behind the Bridge of Sighs. Also if you take a vaporetto to Murano and just take a walk around the island (which is very pretty, less touristy and much quieter than Venice), you will quickly find furnaces and workshops that are open to tourists and offer demonstrations. If you decide to pay a visit please remember:
- It is best to visit furnaces on weekday mornings. Most of them are closed during the lunch hour (which tends to be longer than in the U.S. and often runs until 2-3pm) and on weekends.
- These tours and demonstrations should always be free of charge. Do not agree to deal with anyone who offers to get you into the factory for a fee.
- In Venice, you may encounter sales representatives from touristy factory showrooms that will offer you a free boat trip to Murano. If you accept, be prepared for a lot of sales pressure when you get there and make sure you know how to get back. In fact it is always better to come to Murano by relatively inexpensive and efficient public transportation, and not have to depend on pushy salespeople.
- The exit from a demo is almost always through a richly stocked showroom where you may encounter variable amounts of sales pressure. Look at the prices first, and if things seem too expensive – don’t buy. The factories often give you an impression that they sell cheaper “direct from factory”, but this is not always true.
- If you do decide to buy something, either take it with you, or, if you’d like it shipped, make sure that your purchase will be very well packed and that you know how and when it will reach you. Take down the coordinates of the factory and the name of the salesperson in case any problems arise later on.
- Please note that almost all Murano glass factories are closed the entire month of August.