How To Identify And Recognize Authentic Murano Glass – 5 Top Tips

5 Tips To Identify Authentic Murano Glass by GlassOfVenice
Murano Glass is only made on Murano Island in Venice, Italy. But the problem is that there is no requirement for universal markings of authentic Murano Glass. Therefore, questions abound and everybody wants to know how to identify authentic Murano Glass and avoid counterfeits. Here are the top five tips from Glass Of Venice – the recognized expert in genuine Murano Glass.

  1. Authentic Murano Glass has rich colors and often real gold or silver specks inside. The color shades vary from item to item. When Murano artisans make glassware by hand, they use various minerals to give color to the glass mass. As the glass mass gets heated, the minerals melt and give transparent glass specific colors, such as blue from cobalt or red from gold, green from iron or pink from manganese. Often the colors get layered on top of each other in a special technique called Sommerso. In addition, the masters often use thin sheets of gold or silver that get added to the glass mass and create a layer of gold or silver sparkles inside the glass. In a special demonstration of mastery, the artisan may create glassware that looks like a bright quilt of mosaic-like pieces, the ancient Roman technique known as Millefiori or Murrina.
  2. Authentic Murano Glass has imperfect shape, or other small imperfections, or size and shape variations. When masters craft Murano Glass by hand, they do not use exact measurements or machines to create perfect shapes or perfect polish. Therefore, most Murano Glass pieces may come out slightly asymmetrical, with bottoms that have somewhat rough pontil marks where the glass piece is taken off the stick, and sometimes there would be bubbles captured inside the glass. Two items of the same model may vary in terms of shape, size, color shade, or pattern. This is all thanks to a very manual ancient process where only basic tools are used and where the masters take pride in following the techniques and traditions of their fathers and grandfathers, with no modern technology or conveyor belts.
  3. Authentic Murano Glass often (but not always) has labels with the name of the workshop and the signature of the master and comes with certificates of authenticity. If you see phrases like “Vetro Eseguito Secondo La Tecnica Dei Maestri Di Murano” beware: this is a fake. The words mean “glass created following the technique of Murano masters”, meaning this is not glassware made by Murano masters. Watch out for words like “crystal” because Murano Glass is not crystal. When you see the name of the factory on the label, research where they are located. If they are outside of Venice and Murano, they are not selling authentic Murano Glass.
  4. Authentic Murano Glass is typically sold in physical stores or on the websites, which feature a large selection of high-end art glass items. If you see large gorgeous colorful vases, sculptures, and recognizable expensive typically Venetian pieces such as gondolas, lovers, Moores, clowns, Goldonian ladies and gentlemen, Millefiori glassware, as well as beautiful chandeliers, most likely this store carries genuine Murano Glass from a number of highly skilled masters and factories.
  5. Authentic Murano Glass sellers usually know the world of Murano Glass very well and are able to answer all your questions fully and honestly. If you are unsure before purchasing, make a conversation with the seller or contact them by e-mail, chat, or phone, and ask them about the master or factory that made your piece, about the seller’s buying process, ask which types of factories they deal with, how often they visit Murano, and request assurances of authenticity. If the seller can answer all your questions in an open and friendly manner and give you as much information on their pieces and artisans as you desire, they are most likely selling real original Murano Glass.

Any other questions? Want to know how to buy an original Murano Glass creation hand-made in Murano, Italy? Shop with us or Write to us at support@glassofvenice.com. We have been in genuine Murano Glass import and distribution business since 2008 and are happy to share our knowledge, expertise, and love of Murano Glass with you! Happy shopping!

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Where to Buy Murano Glass in the UK

Our customers from the UK frequently ask us where to buy Murano Glass in the UK. We can recommend several options for finding and buying authentic Murano Glass for UK residents, including GlassOfVenice website and Amazon.

In looking for the best options to buy Murano Glass in the UK you need to weigh the following considerations:

  1. Authenticity
    Make sure the glassware you are purchasing is authentic, which means made by hand in one of the established workshops on Murano island using the traditional methods and techniques. Please read our blog article to know how to make sure the piece you want to purchase is genuine Murano Glass and not a fake made in China. This is especially important if you are shopping at marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay, where lots of fakes are peddled as authentic Murano Glass.
  2. Price
    The prices of genuine Murano Glass pieces vary widely, from just a few British pounds for a pair of small Murano earrings to thousands of pounds for art glass pieces such as vases and sculptures, and many thousands for lighting and chandeliers. We advise you to comparison shop online and see what prices are for Murano Glass pieces that are similar to the one you like in style, technique, and size. In addition, fakes are typically surprisingly cheap, hence if you see a piece that is too cheap to be true, it’s probably fake. Read our article to understand how much Murano Glass should cost and how to pay the right price for the piece that you like.
  3. Assortment
    There are a number of Murano Glass online stores, however, many only carry certain types of pieces, such as only vases and sculptures, only chandeliers and other lighting fixtures, or only jewellery. Find and compare several websites that carry the items that you want. Your best bet is to seek out a site that carries the full range of Murano Glass, as such sites will have the most extensive connections with the artisans and often the most experience shipping the items and the best prices.
  4. Shipping Fees and Policies
    Because you are in the United Kingdom, you need to shop at an online store that ships to the UK and has reasonable shipping fees as well as covers any shipping-related damages. Once you add all the items to your shopping cart, start going through the checkout to see how much the shipping fees will be and compare them to other sellers. In addition, make sure that the seller will replace the items free of charge should they arrive damaged. Glass is fragile and it is very possible that your item may not be adequately packaged or may break from rough handling by the carrier. Also make sure you understand return policies of the seller and buy from those where return is easy and not overly expensive from the UK. At GlassOfVenice.com we ship to the UK every day and we always replace any items that arrive damaged promptly and free of charge.
  5. Buying from Italian vs. the UK or U.S. sellers
    While the majority of online sellers of Murano Glass are based in Italy, there are a few including Glass Of Venice that are in the U.S. or in the U.K. The quality of customer service and communication, and of the buying and shipping processes will often be better when you shop from the US or UK online stores. While the Italian stores are closest to the artisans, they will often have difficult replacement and return conditions and long lead times due to not having items in stock. At Glass Of Venice we keep all items in stock and ship everything within 24 business hours from purchase. If you buy from Amazon or eBay ascertain first what seller you are actually dealing with and where they are based, do not rely on the marketplace itself to take care of all the issues that may arise with your purchase.

If you are in the UK you have many options for buying Murano Glass and having it quickly delivered to your doorstep. Research the sellers, compare the prices, and find the pieces you like online. Good luck!

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Where To See Murano Glass Blowing When Visiting Venice

Where To See Murano Glass Blowing? We’ll tell you how to find the best family-owned real Murano Glass factory where you can see the real glass-making, not a tourist show. If you get trapped into the tourist pitch, you will see a very basic short demonstration by someone who barely knows the craft, and will be quickly ushered into the retail area and encouraged to shop and overspend. To avoid this experience, we recommend a place where you can see the authentic glass-blowing process on Murano without any sales pitch.

  1. How to avoid a tourist trap While there are many factories and workshops on Murano, there are also many that pretend to be factories, when in reality, they are merely showrooms. In order to get the best glass-making demonstration experience, a tourist must be careful and not get pulled into showrooms and retail stores pretending to be factories. Most places that offer demonstrations on Murano are just such retail locations. They often claim to be the only place where you can see a real Murano Glass demonstration and the items they sell are overpriced and often not authentic Murano Glass.

    We also strongly recommend that you steer clear of hotel-sponsored trips to see Murano glass-making. And do not engage with people strategically standing near Vaporetto stops with signs on seeing Murano glass-making.

  2. Where to see the real Murano Glass demonstration The place that we know well and recommend to our customers and all Murano visitors is located at Calle San Cipriano 48, 30141 Murano and is called Vetreria Murano Arte or VMA. For a small 3 euro fee, you can see real masters work in the real family-owned Murano Glass factory and create wonders of Murano Glass. The added benefit is that you don’t need to make reservations in advance or connect with an organization that will facilitate the glass-blowing demonstration. Just show up at your convenience and see the demo with no sales pressure.

    Murano Glass Blowing Demonstration

  3. How to get to Murano Island and see the glass making demonstration To see this glass blowing demo all you need to do is take Vaporetto to Murano from Fondamente Nove stop in Venice and get off at Murano Colonna stop. Then ignore all the people promoting demonstrations and holding up signs, get off the Vaporetto, turn left and walk along the embankment. In about 5-7 minutes you will reach Vetreria Murano Arte. The demonstration is open weekdays between the hours of 9am and 4pm. Children under 11 years all can see the demonstration free of charge.

Murano Glass Blowing is a mesmerizing process which takes its roots from Roman glass-blowing and has evolved over the centuries in the Venetian Republic and in modern-day Italy into a prominent art form. There are hundreds of workshops and small factories on Murano island, most family enterprises, where one or more maestro’s work with hot glass, assisted by a few helpers.

A typical factory has several furnaces where the artisans repeatedly heat up the glass mass to make it malleable. Once heated up, the master takes the glass blob on a metal rod to the special bench, where they work on the hot glass blob, while constantly turning the rod to make sure the shape stays and the glass doesn’t fall onto one side. The masters use very basic tools and instruments to cut and shape the glass, and it’s their precision, experience, talent, and fantasy that make their creations unique art glass pieces renown throughout the world.

To become a Murano Glass master, one has to start out working in a furnace as a child and work alongside an experienced maestro to learn all the tricks and secrets of this unique and ancient trade. The most talented artisans then develop their own manner and artistic style, becoming famous maestros in their own right. This old-fashioned way of learning is still practiced in Murano, and all the masters we work with at Glass of Venice have learned their craft in this way.

If this sounds interesting, the next time you are on Murano make sure to visit the real glass-making demonstration without the sales pitch, and then walk around Murano island at your leisure. Peek into stores and galleries and view the beautiful Murano Glass jewelry, vases, sculptures and figurines to see if anything attracts your attention.

If you find a piece that you’d like to purchase, make sure it’s authentic. If you are taking it along with you, ensure that it will be packed well for its voyage home. Otherwise, if you would like it shipped to your home, remember to take down the information about the store, the salesperson, and agree on all the specifics of shipping to avoid any surprises with regard to the shipping fees and timing.

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How To Clean Murano Glass Chandelier

How to clean Murano Glass Chandelier? There are several ways. The best way to clean a Murano Glass Chandelier is to disassemble it and clean parts one by one. If it’s too difficult then you can do some light cleaning by simply removing dust with microfiber cloth without disassembly. Do not use any chemicals or sprays to clean your Murano Glass Chandelier as this may damage the glass.

Here are the key steps to clean Murano Glass Chandelier:

  1. Turn off the light and let the bulbs cool completely.
  2. Disassemble the chandelier by removing each glass element one by one. Remove each leaf, flower, shade, arm, and finally the central stem.
  3. Fill a large plastic tub with warm water. Add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the water.
  4. Roll out a large towel on the counter or on a table.
  5. Take the first glass element and put it in the tub. Make sure it is entirely submerged, or submerge different parts in turn by hand. After it is cleaned in the water-and-vinegar solution, dry it off with lint-free cloth and lay on the prepared towel.
  6. Repeat the process with each glass element of the chandelier.
  7. When all the elements have been cleaned and dried, re-assemble the chandelier.

If you choose to disassemble your Murano Glass Chandelier for cleaning, be very careful, as broken elements are almost impossible to replace. However, if you purchased your chandelier from GlassOfVenice and happen to break an element, do not despair. Contact us and we will assist you with ordering a spare part. If you clean your chandelier every several months, it will sparkle and reflect light in the best possible way.

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Is Murano Glass Made In China?

Never! The short answer is Murano Glass cannot be made in China. It can only be made in Venice, Italy using specific methods and techniques used by Murano Glass artisans for over a thousand years.


Mazzega Murano Glass
Despite millions of people visiting Venice and Murano every year, unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion about Murano Glass. To resolve any misunderstanding it is important to know what Murano Glass is. Murano Glass is glassware made by hand on Murano island in Venice, Italy, according to very specific ancient techniques and recipes that have been passed from generation to generation of Murano master-glassmakers.
Murano Glass Marco Polo Glass Factory
This glass can serve decorative, artistic, and functional purpose, and can be crafted into jewelry, accessories, figurines, vases, stemware, tabletop, and many other types of objects. In addition, Murano Glass is always made from local ingredients, which matters because the quality of key ingredients, such as sand, from Venice area is unmatched anywhere else when it comes to its use in glass craftsmanship.
Murano Glass Store In Murano Italy
Now it is hopefully clear that Murano Glass can never be made in China, or anywhere else, besides Venice, Italy. The official consortium of Murano Glass companies established in Venice in 1985 requires that production factory of every member company be based on Murano island, and does not accept as members companies (even Italian ones) that produce their art glass outside of Murano.
Fratelli Toso Murano Glass
Art glass schools and traditions have been established outside of Murano as well, some more recently and some centuries ago, in places such as Bohemia, England, France, Sweden, Brazil, and more recently Asia. However, none of them can match the creativity, technical know-how, and creative talent that have consistently been the hallmarks of authentic Murano Glass. Murano Glass masters were the first ones in the world to recover and evolve the methods and techniques of glass-making using glass-blowing, molds, small flame, used by the ancient Romans, and turned glass-making into an art form. While there are many beautiful art glass pieces produced outside of Murano, Murano Glass is characterized by the degree of lightness, color depth, aesthetics and artistic design unmatched anywhere else.
Seguso Murano Glass
Perhaps because of confusion about the word Murano, and whether it stands for a geographic location, a type of glassware, or a brand, many people do not realize that Murano Glass should indeed be Murano-made and cannot come from any other places such as China.

Online marketplaces feature thousands of unscrupulous sellers who peddle various non-Murano glass pieces as Murano, or call them Murano-style to avoid potential liability. Many of such pieces are in fact made in China and have nothing to do with authentic Murano Glass. Be careful shopping for Murano Glass online or in-person, and peruse our exclusive comprehensive guide on how to recognize authentic Murano Glass and avoid fakes. This guide is available here: How Do I Know If A Murano Glass Item Is Genuine?
Murano Glass Boxes On Boat In Venice Italy

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How Expensive Is Murano Glass?

How expensive is Murano Glass? People ask this question often because they want to understand whether authentic hand-made artistic Murano Glass can be affordable. In fact, authentic Murano Glass prices range from very affordable small jewelry that is under $20 to extremely expensive art glass pieces which run into thousands of dollars.
Murano Glass Making - How Expensive Is Murano Glass
So what do Murano Glass prices depend on? There are a variety of factors that define the price.

  • First and most important factor is the difficulty of making the piece. This depends primarily on the Murano Glass technique used by the master. Some techniques involve multi-step processes, which require exceptional skill, precision, and take a long time to complete.

  • The second factor is the cost and difficulty of obtaining source materials. Certain techniques have high costs, such as gold-leaf layering, which requires the use of 24 karat gold.

  • The third factor is the item type and color. Larger and more complex Murano Glass pieces, like large sculptures or chandeliers, often cost more than smaller ones, and Murano Glass vases and figurines in red and black color are usually more expensive than blue or transparent ones.

The main factor that determines the price of a Murano Glass piece is the technique used to make it. For example, Millefiori (translated from Italian as “a thousand flowers”) is a technique of creating special Murano glass canes with a pattern inside, then cutting them up into small cross-sections (“murrine”), then assembling the murrine into a certain pattern, and fusing them together in the furnace multiple times to achieve the famous mosaic glass, or Millefiori, look.

This is a painstaking process which requires exceptional skill, dexterity, and many hours of work even for a small piece. Hence, Millefiori Murano Glass typically commands higher prices and it is easy to distinguish fake Millefiori glass from the real Murano-made, as fakes are often sloppily made in China, and lack exquisiteness and brightness of colors that distinguish authentic Murano Glass. You can expect to pay $20 – $40 U.S. dollars for Millefiori earrings and pendants, depending on the size and pattern, and over $100 U.S. dollars for Millefiori vases and sculptures.
Millefiori Glass Making - How Expensive is Murano Glass

Another expensive Murano Glass technique is Sommerso, which is crafted by carefully dipping glass of one color into glass of another color, and potentially creating more than 2 layers this way. This is a very difficult process which, when executed correctly, means that the layers of differently colored glass never mix, creating distinct bands of colors within one art glass piece. Sommerso vases, bowls, and sculptures command relatively high prices, from around $150 for a relatively small 2-layer piece to over a thousand dollars for large multi-layer Sommerso art glass creations.
Sommerso Murano Glass Making - How Expensive is Murano Glass

One more example of expensive glassware is gold-leaf and enamel-decorated Murano Glass made in now rare technique called Tre Fuochi, which means “three flames” or “triple-firing” in Italian. This technique hails from the opulence of the eighteenth century Venice, when many wealthy Venetians and foreigners sought out exclusive tableware to show off their elite status at dinners and balls. Tre Fuochi technique involves lots of expensive 24 karat gold, and painstaking manual work of painting gold leaf and enamels on the glassware.
Murano Glass Tre Fuochi Wine Glasses

The process is split into three stages. First, intricate gold leaf decoration is applied by hand to the colored glasses, goblets, carafes, bowls, or vases. Then the glassware goes into the special furnace which is heated up to the point when the gold permanently bonds with the glass. After that in another manual decorating session, various enamels are handcrafted on the glass, usually in the form of flowers, leaves, or abstract elaborate decorative elements, and then the glassware goes into the furnace again to make the enamel fuse with the gold and the glass. In the end, the final decorative touches are added by hand and the glass goes into the furnace for the third and last time to ensure complete fusion. Then the glass undergoes gradual cooling to ensure it won’t shatter from stress.

Needless to say, this extremely complex process is costly, and requires a lot of time, skill in both glass-blowing and hand-decorating, and special furnace setup. Therefore, very few artisans still create these pieces and you can expect to pay high prices of over a hundred dollars per piece for tre fuochi wine glasses, carafes, and other tableware.

It is hard to save on Murano Glass, since much of the cost is based on the amount of work and skill required to produce this exquisite glassware in Italy. However, in order to pay the best price, it helps to understand what determines the price and shop around to see who offers the best price. However, the price should still look reasonable and not so low that it’s likely the piece is fake. Often the best prices are found in small stores on Murano island (not the large and commercialized “factory” outlets, which are often not affiliated with any factory at all).

The next best option is on the internet, where you can find large importers and distributors who can keep the prices low due to the high volumes and lack of retail space. Our company, GlassOfVenice.com has been in business for over 10 years, and is the largest online distributor of authentic Murano Glass in the world. Unlike our competitors, we have exclusive contracts with many small family Murano Glass workshops, which allows us to offer the highest quality exclusive artistic Murano Glass at very reasonable prices.

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How To Eat Like A Local In Venice

How To Eat Like A Local In Venice

Venice is a very touristy city with many restaurants, yet it often gets a bad reputation for the quality of its food. In fact, Venetian food is fresh and delicious, but the key to finding good restaurants in Venice is to get away from the main tourist sites and major thoroughfares and to heed the advice of those who know Venice and its cuisine well. In Venice, things are often not what they seem. The tiniest crowded places with basic furniture and minimal decor often turn out to be the most gastronomically delightful in this mysterious city. What follows is our hand-picked list of the hidden culinary gems, where you can eat like a local in Venice, including Murano and Burano islands.

Trattoria Corte Sconta

Mixed Seafood Dish VeniceWell-known among locals and tourists alike for its exceptionally fresh seafood, Corte Sconta is a reliable choice for quintessential Venetian dining – relaxed, authentic, and always anchored in the seasonal fresh sea-to-table ingredients. Every early morning when the seafood market opens the cooks personally select the best catch and create the menu based on the freshest most flavorful seafood of the day. The seating and decor inside is no-frills, but the highlight of this restaurant is a vine-covered hidden courtyard (which gave it its name). The courtyard is a wonderful place to eat and enjoy when the weather is nice.
Address: Calle del Pestrin, 3886, 30122 Castello, Venice, Italy

Al Mascaron

Al Mascaron Restaurant VeniceSituated in Castello district not too far from Piazza San Marco, Al Mascaron is a no-frills traditional Venetian Osteria, which for over 30 years has been a favorite place of local workers and fishermen. Al Mascaron’s symbol is a scary mask hanging above its door, and the osteria is so called thanks to the scary faces that were sculpted on the doors of the neighboring church to ward off evil spirits. Venetians have been gathering here to spend time in good company, drink lovely local wines, and have hearty meals of local specialties such as sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines), polenta, baccalà mantecato (creamed cod), linguini al nero di seppia (linguini in squid ink sauce), and many other traditional Venetian dishes. The decor is simple, rustic yet cozy, with wooden tables and chairs, and walls covered with Venetian-themed drawings of local and international artists. Al Mascaron tends to be busy, especially during the tourist season, yet oftentimes you can still get a table after a short wait, especially for early lunch or late dinner.
Address: Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5225, 30122 Venice, Italy

Ai Barbacani

Ai Barbacani Restaurant VeniceAnother gem in Castello district, this restaurant has a wonderfully romantic atmosphere and quiet candlelit elegance and features a canal view. The restaurant is situated in an ancient seven-hundred-year-old building and has been a favorite place for Venetians and tourists alike for over 60 years. When you arrive, you’ll be served a glass of fine local Prosecco, and will be able to choose from a good selection of traditional Venetian dishes, which are always fresh, flavorful, and authentic. The best-kept secret of this restaurant is a table for two that stands in the large window, which fully opens to the canal. If you are lucky enough to get that table, you will be literally seating a foot above the water, with an unobstructed view of two bridges, and amazing people-watching with all of Venice passing or floating by you.
Address: Calle del Paradiso 5746 30122 Venice, Italy

CoVino

CoVino Restaurant VeniceContinuing a culinary tour of Venetian sestiere Castello, CoVino is one of the top choices in Venice for fresh and flavorful Italian cuisine creatively prepared and artfully presented. The menu is a 3-course prefix. There is a choice of several dishes for each course, which are crafted from only the best ingredients sourced from small Italian farms. The wine list is exceptionally good, featuring many unique selections from small vineyards, and even some great organic wines. It’s a tiny place with only a few tables, and the dishes are prepared right next to you, with the most appetizing gourmet smells filling the air. CoVino is the embodiment of the “slow food” concept, with only two seatings each evening. This is a must-try restaurant, but reservations are essential and should be made at least a week in advance.
Address: Calle Pestrin Castello 3853 30122 Venice, Italy

Algiubagiò

Algiubagio Restaurant VeniceSituated in a lively Venetian district of Cannaregio, Algiubagio exists in the same place since the 1950’s, when it was just a simple small neighborhood trattoria. Today the space is larger, brighter, and more sophisticated, with the atmosphere of elegance highlighted by beautiful Murano Glass Chandeliers. The menu has choices for all tastes, from fish and seafood to meat and vegetarian dishes, and cooking is a mix of traditional and contemporary influences. The restaurant is located on Fondamente Nove, the northern side of Venice, facing the Lagoon and the islands of San Michele and Murano. The bonus is a large wooden terrace above the water, where you can dine in warm weather and enjoy gorgeous views and fresh wind from the Lagoon. Even on colder days, you can often still sit on the terrace warmed up with the special heating lamps and reflect on the eternal beauty of Venice.
Address: Fondamente Nuove, Cannaregio, 5039, 30125 Venezia Italy

Al Bottegon aka Cantine del Vino già Schiavi

Al Bottegon  Restaurant VeniceAl Bottegon is not a restaurant but it’s a Venetian staple that cannot be missed. It’s an “Enoteca”, which means a wine bar. Here is Dorsorduro district across the Grand Canal from the hustle and bustle of Piazza San Marco life is more slow and authentic, and the locals often stop for a glass wine and cichetti and a chat on their way home from work or during an evening stroll. Along the walls of the long narrow room are bottles of wine stocked on floor-to-ceiling shelves. Here you can find wines from every region of Italy, very cheap and extremely expensive, very well-known and really rare, from all grape varieties and for all tastes. However, Al Bottegon is not merely a wine shop. Besides the wine, it serves a wide variety of Venetian cicchetti, or tiny open-faced sandwiches with Venetian and Italian delicacies, from fish and seafood to vegetables, cheeses, smoked and air-dried meats (“salumi”), and many other inventive and delicious options. The atmosphere is convivial and cheery. Patrons young and old from all walks of life typically stand inside with a glass of wine in hand or spill out into the street next to canal Rio San Trovaso to get fresh air and canal-view – a completely authentic Venetian experience.
Address: Fondamenta Nani 992 Dorsoduro, 30123 Venice, Italy

Buso Alla Torre, Murano

Busa Alla Torre  Restaurant Murano VeniceA go-to place for those in the know on Murano island, Busa Alla Torre is a gem of a restaurant known as much for its wonderful cuisine, as for its owner, Gabriele or, affectinately, Lele. A big personality with a warm welcoming smile, Lele is omnipresent in his restaurant and likes to chat with the patrons while making sure that everybody is having a great time. Busa alla Torre is so called for its location on Campo Santo Stefano next to the famous Clock Tower or Torre del Orologio with the much-photographed huge blue Murano Glass comet at its foot. The restaurant is simple inside but its cuisine is sophisticated and refined, inspired by Lele’s love of gourmet Venetian food based on local fresh ingredients and seafood specialties from the Venetian Lagoon. A special draw is the piazza seating next to the Torre del Orologio and with a view of the canal, which the restaurant offers on warm days. Here you can have a wonderful light or hearty meal, stay for as long as you want, and watch Murano’s daily life unfold in front of you.
Address: Campo S. Stefano, 3, 30141 Murano (Venice Italy)

Acqua Stanca, Murano

Acqua Stanca  Restaurant Murano VeniceUnlike many other restaurant choices listed here, Acqua Stanca is a newer restaurant, opened in 2012 on Murano Island, where the old and the new mixes perfectly and where those in the know increasingly go for fine authentic dining at reasonable price. Frequented by the locals and resourceful tourists alike, this restaurant has beautiful boho-chic-meats-Venetian-tradition interior design artfully combining the warm appeal of wood and exposed brick, the sophistication of Murano Glass sculptures, and the toned down luster of old Murano Glass mirrors. The food is sheer delight, inventive and beautifully presented. The choices include the seafood delicacies from the Venetian Lagoon, such as the soft-shell crab, clams, and squid, perennial Italian favorites such as Mozzarella di Buffala, artichokes, tomatoes, and other vegetables, as well as a combination of traditional and modern touches in the pasta dishes.
Address: Fondamenta Manin 48, 30141 Murano (Venice Italy)

Al Gatto Nero, Burano

Al Gatto Nero Restaurant Burano VeniceIf your travels take you to Burano island, be sure to visit this tried-and-true local favorite. Al Gatto Nero, or “The Black Cat” has been under the same ownership since 1965 and has earned its fame by serving the freshest Adriatic fish and seafood and a wide variety of traditional Venetian and Italian appetizers, complemented with an extensive list of hand-picked wines from Veneto, Friuli, Alto Adige and many other Italian wine-growing regions. The highlights of the menu include capesante (scallops), cannolicchi (razor clams), granseola (soft shell crab), and gamberi (small shrimps) and vongole (clams). The fritto misto (mixed fried seafood) may be the best option to try all of these seafood delicacies, but the menu is full of grilled, fried, and sauteed options for every taste. The location of this restaurant is unbeatable, not far from the ferry stop and right on the canal lined with colorful houses. You can dine inside or out, the latter being the best choice for people-watching. You’ll see tourists walking by and the Buranese going about their business, or sitting on benches and chatting, just the way it has been here for hundreds of years.
Address: Via Giudecca, 88, 30142 Burano (Venice Italy)

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How to buy Murano Glass In Venice or online

Murano Glass store selling authentic glassware made on Murano
If you want to buy Murano Glass in Venice, you need to understand several key things: how and where Murano Glass is made and what it looks like, where to find genuine Murano Glass, how to pay the right price, and how to bring your purchase safely back home.

  • How Murano Glass is made.

    There are many different methods and techniques of making Murano Glass, some ancient and some modern, some used to make very light and delicate pieces, others used to create large and heavy imposing objects. Jewelry is frequently made under a small gas flame from special pre-made glass canes, using a technique called “a lume” in Italian and “lampworking” in English. Mosaic-like designs are crafted using the Millefiori technique, milky opaque designs are achieved with Lattimo technique, regular bubble patterns crafted with Bullicante technique, just to name a few. You need to become familiar with all the main techniques and the resulting designs to understand the important information that the appearance of Murano glass pieces can relay to you.

  • Where Murano Glass is made.

    Murano Glass has been traditionally made on Murano Island in Venice, Italy. These days the production spilled over into Venice proper. While the official Murano Glass consortium refuses to acknowledge any glassmakers who do not physically have an office on Murano, those based in Venice are really every bit as genuine and legitimate as the ones based on Murano, and their glass-blowing methods and techniques are exactly the same. It is important to remember that Murano Glass is not made outside of Venice, even if elsewhere in Italy, and that few if any, masters of non-Venetian origin are involved in this craft.

  • Where to buy genuine Murano Glass.

    If you familiarized yourself with Murano glass-making methods and designs, and have checked out enough stores (or at least store windows) on Murano Island and in Venice, you will probably know well enough what to expect and what to look for. Of course, any place that has suspiciously low prices should be avoided. Your best bets are stores that carry many different styles and types of items, feature sophisticated store designs, have knowledgeable staff, and sell pieces that have stickers, signatures, and authenticity certificates. If you are not sure, or you feel like the prices charged by legitimate stores in Venice or on Murano are too high, do not rush into a purchase. You may want to shop online instead, where it is easy to find reputable sellers, and where Murano Glass prices are often lower than in Venice. Online Murano Glass shops do not need to pay for real estate, buy flood insurance, and have many full-time salespeople, which makes the prices lower. The selection of Venetian Glass online is often much bigger than in any one store in Venice. Online stores like GlassOfVenice.com also stock everything in the USA and offer free U.S. shipping, making buying Murano Glass much easier and safer for Americans.

    If you do decide to buy in a physical store in Venice or Murano, always try to talk to the salesperson or store owner before making a purchase and find out as much as you can about the artisans he works with, his experience with Murano Glass, his thoughts on the current state of Venice and Murano Glass industry, and his local knowledge. Stores that stock fakes typically try to save on everything, from store design to sales staff, and will often hire salespeople of non-Venetian or even non-Italian origin, who know little about Murano Glass.

  • How to pay the right price.

    It is very disappointing to find a piece you love and pay a fortune for it, only to find out later that the next store sells something very similar for half the price. Even though you should be aware of places that sell things very cheap (which typically means they sell fakes), it is important to get a good feel for the prices on authentic Murano glass in Venice before buying that piece you just love. There are rarely two pieces that are exactly the same in different stores, but similar pieces made in the same technique are often easy to find, and comparison-shopping is very possible and advisable.
    Contrary to popular thinking, Murano Island does not always offer better prices. Many glitzy showrooms on Murano have agreements with Venetian hotels, which talk guests into free no-obligation visits in private boats. Once in the showroom, such captive visitors often experience lots of sales pressure and are made to feel that this is their last opportunity to buy, and the best price they could possibly get. Needless to say, this is usually not the case, but many unsuspecting tourists do fall in this trap and buy expensive pieces on the spot, which they later regret.

  • How to ship Murano Glass home from Venice.

    Once you found the piece you love, are positive that it is authentic and know that you are paying the right price, don’t yet rush to make a purchase. Find out first how the piece will get to your home. Of course it may be tempting to just take the piece with you, but it may not be practical if it is very fragile, large, heavy, or otherwise presents a challenge on the plane, train or other means of transportation that you will take.

    Many Venetian and Murano merchants will offer you to ship your purchase. This sounds convenient but presents its own challenges. When and how will it be shipped? Will you be able to track it yourself? What happens if it gets damaged in transit or disappears along the way? What will you do if due to some misunderstanding or error it never leaves the warehouse, or if you receive the wrong piece altogether? Always make sure that you have the information of the contact person in the store or factory, and have recourse in case something goes wrong with the shipment. If you can take your Murano Glass treasure with you without too much trouble, we always advise you to do that rather than have it shipped.

    If you do ship it and something goes wrong, contact the store that sold you the item and talk to them about resolving the situation. The more reputable the store, the higher the chances that they will work with you and make things right.

How Murano Glass is shipped from Venice


In conclusion, many people believe that it is best to purchase Murano Glass in Venice because that way they will certainly get an authentic piece at the right price. Unfortunately, just by buying in Venice you are neither assured authenticity, nor a good deal. So many merchants peddle fake glassware in Venice that police is periodically raiding the stores and seizing the counterfeits. Moreover, lots of unscrupulous store owners take advantage of unsuspecting tourists charging them sky-high prices for mediocre-quality pieces that may or may not be genuine. If you do decide to shop for Murano Glass in Venice, please follow our advice to avoid the common traps. It is important to be armed with information in order to solve any potential problems.

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5 Myths About Venice That You Should Not Believe

Myth 1: Venetian canals smell

Venetian canals do not smell
Have someone ever told you that Venetian canals are… well, less attractive than you imagined? And that you might have to hold your nose when standing near one? We’ve heard this too. But this story is nothing more than a myth

This myth is typically spread by those who have never been to Venice and do not plan to visit mainly for this reason. But if you ask those who live in Venice or spent at least a few days there they’ll tell you that canals in Venice smell like the sea.

The truth is you can breathe easy on the Venetian shores – much easier than in our congested and polluted cities. The water in Venetian canals does not stand still. By ancient design, the canals are interconnected with the Venetian Lagoon and the open sea, and constitute the city’s elaborate system of dealing with pollution that has been successfully working for a thousand years. And only once a year, when the lifecycle of the seaweed ends there might be a faint smell akin to the one you can feel on any beach at low tide. However, Venetian canals are cleaned regularly and any smell that may appear is very short-lived.

Myth 2: The best time to visit Venice is in the Summer

In the Summer there are huge tourist crowds in Venice
Lots of people dream of picnicking on the canals and doing sunset promenades in Venice, thinking that Summer is the best season to enjoy the city sans jacket and scarf.

In reality the people who sustain this myth are those who never visited Venice in the midst of the tourist season. The problem is that ancient Venice with its maze of medieval alleyways and dead ends, narrow bridges, and public transportation system consisting of only small vaporetto boats, is not equipped to manage hordes of tourists without crowds and bottlenecks everywhere. This, along with heat and high humidity, makes for very uncomfortable sightseeing and inevitable lack of atmosphere and aura that define Venice.

The shoulder seasons, such as September-October or March-April make for far better relaxed and uncrowded experience in Venice and allow you to feel the authenticity and the unique ambiance of this beautiful city.

Myth 3: The most expensive cup of coffee in the world is in Venice’s famous café Florian.

Coffee in Cafe Florian in Venice is not the most expensive in the world
The famous Venetian café Florian is the oldest continuously operating café in the world that was frequented by many historical figures from Goethe and Casanova to Lord Byron and Charles Dickens. Of course it’s an expensive place to have a cup of coffee but it’s certainly not the most expensive in the world.

Research conducted by the London branch of the American consulting firm Mercer has shown that the most expensive cup of coffee is actually sold in Moscow, Russia, where it costs on average $10.19 (including the tip). And in café Florian’s historic interiors you can have your coffee for mere 5 euro while seating on the same red velvet benches where Goldoni, Casanova, Goethe, Byron, Madame de Stael, Proust, Stravinsky, Modigliani and Brodsky once sat.

Myth 4: One day is enough time to see Venice

One day in Venice during cruise is not enough
Lots of people visit Venice as a day-trip, including millions who visit the city by cruise ships every year. Those people, often armed with a quick “top-5-places-to-see”-type guidebook, hit all the hotspots in a quick succession: San Marco Square, The Basilica of San Marco, The Doge’s Palace, maybe the ascent of the Campanile, and an obligatory gondola trip along the Grand Canal. A few very efficient ones may even be able to squeeze in a visit to another museum or a church, if they skip lunch or grab a quick panini to go from a nameless corner shop.

Sure, that can all be done in one day but what have you really seen and experienced at the end of this long and tiresome hectic day? You have checked off a few boxes on a tourist’s must-see list and ran quickly through a bunch of attractions but this is akin to speed-dating: a quick glance, a short-lived impression, and no way to understand who is really in front of you.

In Venice’s case what is in front of you is a real treasure with layers of history and often deceiving looks, which needs to be studied and appreciated slowly. Venice’s history, culture, heritage, arts, cuisine, and its many quirks do not get revealed to a stranger during a one-day speed-sightseeing session.

By spending several non-rushed days in La Serenissima, visiting selected attractions, savoring slow long canal-side walks, lingering in the family restaurants and small wine bars, you will let yourself slowly get immersed in Venice’s colorful and mysterious world. You will be able to appreciate its character, its slow pace, its fragile yet perfectly balanced co-existence with water, and its attractions, which need to be viewed in the context of this city’s unique personality. And be prepared: you might just fall in love.

Myth 5: Staying overnight in Venice is very expensive. The best option is to stay on the mainland, in Mestre.

Staying in Venice overnight is better than Mestre
Like any city at the top of the must-see-before-you-die list, Venice has millions of people visiting every year and tens of thousands of hotel rooms to satisfy this demand. And of course the hotels in Venice’s historic center are usually not cheap. But do not think this is the whole truth and do not let this thinking convince you to stay on the mainland in Mestre.

Mestre is a small industrial town across the Lagoon that lacks any character. Have you really come all the way to Venice to spend your evenings on car-lined streets of a modern town with no history, offering mediocre restaurants and lacking any charm? Who said that you can’t find reasonably-priced accommodations in the center of Venice?

Besides luxury and boutique hotels, Venice has lots of cozy B&B’s and no-frills apartments for rent, which can be rented for around 100 euros per night in low season and slightly more in high season. Many major travel booking sites now also offer B&B’s, while websites such as VRBO and Homeaway offer a multitude of apartment choices in Venice in all price categories.

Of course you always need to be careful renting apartments from private persons, especially abroad, and make sure to avoid any listings that do not have multiple reviews, do not offer a way to talk directly to the owners, or seem suspicious in any way at any stage in the booking process.

Good luck in your future travels to Venice and please help us continue to dispel these myths that paint beautiful Venice in dark colors.

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How to Stop and Smell The Roses: 5 Things We Can Learn From The Italians

Italians are undisputed masters in so many arts. The art of La Dolce Vita, the art of adapting and finding a way out, the art of living in the moment and enjoying it. So for those of us who are stressed out and balancing the demands of the daily life while experiencing the deficiency of joy, why not learn a few lessons from the Italians?

5 Things About Life To Learn From The Italians

When you travel to Italy you may notice that Italians approach many things in life differently than Americans do. They linger in cafes and restaurants, they don’t rush to work with paper cups in their hands, they take temporary obstacles in stride and rarely complaint. To illustrate my point let me tell you an anecdote from my life in Italy.

Once I took a city tram in the center of Milan during the evening rush hour. It was a very nice autumn day and the tram was full of people heading home or going to meet friends for a nice dinner al fresco. All of a sudden the tram stopped in between two stops. After a short commotion and confusion the reason for the unexpected stop became clear: a car was parked right on the tram tracks and its driver was nowhere to be found. I mentally prepared myself for a long unpleasant wait in the crowd of angry people and started thinking about an alternative way to get home. What happened next was both surprising and amazing. Without much discussion, a few men who did not previously know each other got out, surrounded the car, lifted it off the ground, and voila… moved it off the tacks. They then got back into the tram as if nothing unusual just happened, the people in the tram started clapping and screaming “bravi” to the men, the conductor restarted the tram, and everything went back to normal just like that.

This short story opens a window into Italian values and attitudes and shows how camaraderie, can-do attitude, decisiveness, and upbeat approach to life help Italians turn temporary difficulties into adventures.

While not everything that Italians mastered can be easily adapted outside of Italy, their attitude to everyday life is something we can all learn to bring our own lives closer to the famous if idealistic “la dolce vita”. Here are 5 things Italians do that you can implement quickly to start upping your level of enjoyment and lowering stress every day.

1. Enjoy your food. In Italy a meal is a pleasure and a chance to relax.

Meal In Italy

As paradoxical as it sounds, Italians live according to the schedule. The schedule tells them exactly what and when they should be eating. Coffee and sweets in the morning, lunch with co-workers or at home with family in early afternoon (yes, many working Italians go home for lunch), aperitivo (or drinks with small snacks) with colleagues or friends between 5 and 7:30pm, and dinner around 8-9pm, either at home or in a restaurant. Eating on the go or running somewhere with a paper cup of coffee are almost anathema to most Italians, something they will do only in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

Even if an Italian only has 30 minutes for lunch, that lunch will be a dish of savory freshly made pasta in a corner café with colleagues or friends versus gulping lunch while looking at the monitor. Italians prefer meals made of fresh local ingredients, freshly cooked, and immediately eaten. But most importantly in the eyes of an Italian a meal is a joy that should be shared with someone, because when savoring a good meal is combined with a good conversation it is truly one of the most wonderful yet easily accessible and inexpensive pleasures of life.

2. Meet friends. Connect. Share. Communication is the engine of social life.

Meeting Friends In Italy

In Italy networking is not something you learn in your business career or at a course about enhancing your communications skills and getting things done more effectively. Everyone in Italy has been perfecting the art of networking since childhood. That is why so many tourists visiting Italy are surprised at how easily they get involved in conversations everywhere: at the local pizzeria, at the shoe store, on the beach, or even on the street asking for directions. Themes discussed do not just span the ordinary weather and sports, they range from comparison of wines from different regions to relationship between Caesar and Cleopatra to spirited discussions about arts and latest exhibitions, and of course always popular soccer and politics. Far from needlessly claiming too much of our free time, these conversations in Italy lead to finding new friends, to gaining new knowledge, to broadening one’s horizons.

3. Live in the moment. Life is not a chase – It happens here and now.

Italian Beach Sunset Live In The Moment

Sometimes you just need to stop, exhale, and notice life that is happening right around you. Unlike Americans that are always in a hurry, Italians realize that opportunities are everywhere, and if you run too fast you will most likely miss them. They live with a sense that there will be time for everything. And this decreases the level of stress. Somehow even with their long siesta and with often being late Italians are not in a rush, and as a result they are much less stressed and happier than people in many other cultures. Italian culture places value on giving yourself enough time for everything: a meal, a nice walk, a non-rushed conversation, because this is what helps us balance all the demands that life places on us. Paradoxically, slowing down is a road to better quality of life and to faster progress in many spheres of life.

4. Make time for the joys of life. Quality of life is a priority number one.

La Dolce Vita in Italy

Italians know: for your life to become better you don’t need more money. In fact, trying to make more money and satisfy your ambitions, you will actually lower or even completely lose your quality of life. Italian way of life is to leave enough space for the important things, like enjoyment and pleasure. The schedule we mentioned earlier helps with that, by having all those pleasurable things already built in. There is time for morning coffee and a newspaper, time to spend time with family during the day, to pick up your kids from school or take a nap, meet friends for aperitivo (after work drinks) and so on. In other words, it’s not about living to work, it is about working to live. And live well.

5. Stay close to your Family. It comes before everything else.

Italian Family Photo

Italian families are a well-known subject of books, films, conversations, and even jokes. Close-knit, sometimes noisy, and very caring, an Italian family takes a bit of getting used to for non-Italians marrying into one. But those who can see past that end up with incredible benefits: a close circle of people who truly care about each other and provide support just when you need it most. Despite the stereotypical features of Italian families that Americans may have been exposed to in popular media, Italians are stronger, happier, and more emotionally anchored thanks to their families.

In Italy families are more than a bunch of people you see around the holidays, and more than just your parents, kids, and siblings. It is a community, which includes your close and more distant relatives (and in some cases entire villages) willing to jump in and help whenever you need them. A family in Italy is a whole support system, which is there for you no matter your age, status, of financial situation. They are the ones to land a hand during life’s difficulties and also the ones to join you for joyful events and celebrations. While Italians may complaint that their families are in their business too much, they certainly would not have it any other way.

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