Exploring Murano, Italy: A Treasure Island Of Glass Art

A view of Murano, Italy

What to know about Murano Island.

Murano, Italy deserve the name of the treasure island next to Venice for the richness of its glass art and historical treasures. Along with Burano and Torcello, Murano is an ancient island community which today is officially a part of Venice, Italy.

Murano, Italy is a picturesque “Little Venice” which is based not on one but on nine islands, with its own Grand Canal cutting through its center. Murano is renowned worldwide for its handmade glass, which has been produced on this island since 1291. Most amazingly, the production process continues today almost unchanged from the centuries past. It involves incredible artisan skills and only the most basic tools.

A visit to Murano isn’t just a day trip from Venice; it’s an immersive journey into a world of old-fashioned craftsmanship where tradition reigns supreme. Murano glass, famous for its quality and beauty, has made this island a must-visit destination for art lovers, history gurus, and people fascinated with ancient crafts. In this guide, we’ll explain why Murano has to be on your Venice itinerary, how to get the most from your visit, and how to find the piece of Murano Glass that speaks to your soul.

Why Visit Murano, Italy?

Murano is a vibrant community with a rich history, centered around glassmaking. It’s a place frozen in time. Here, beyond a few tourist-filled lanes lies a quiet community of craftsmen who live their lives much like they did in medieval times. There are no cars, people walk or use boats, and you will frequently see locals taking a break from their routine to chat or grab lunch or a drink together. The island is dotted with traditional glass factories, workshops, single artisan studios, and countless Murano Glass shops for every taste and budget. Whether you’re an art fan, history buff, or enjoy the quietness of a bygone era, Murano offers an amazing experience.

Getting There: Reaching Murano from Venice is easy. The most scenic and cost-effective way to get there is by vaporetto (Venetian name for the public water bus). Lines 4.1 and 4.2 provide regular service to Murano Island and back from various areas in Venice, including Fondamente Nove on The Northern shore of Venice and San Zaccaria vaporetto hub near Piazza San Marco . The journey from Fondamente Nove takes only about 15 minutes, and comes with the unbeatable views of the Venetian Lagoon. If you prefer to travel in style there are private water taxis, though this option is much more expensive.

How Long to Spend: Most travelers explore Murano for a few hours while being based in Venice. However, recently, several stylish hotels popped up on Murano itself, allowing travelers to get a sense of authentic Venice. It is especially enjoyable in the evenings when the day trippers leave and only the locals are out and about. Spending at least one full day on the island allows you to appreciate its treasures without rushing. If you have time for an overnight stay, your time in Murano will be even more rewarding.

A view of Grand Canal in Murano, Italy

Top 5 Attractions in Murano, Italy:

  1. Murano Glass Museum and Art Glass Galleries: The Murano Glass Museum, located in the historic Palazzo Giustinian, traces the history of glassmaking in Murano. Here you will find the world’s best collection of Venetian glass art that spans centuries. After visiting this museum and learning all about Murano Glass, peek into private art galleries to see both traditional and contemporary Murano glass art. This will help you appreciate the evolution of Murano Glass and the new trends in the artistic landscape surrounding the local production.
  2. Glass Factories: Visiting a glass factory is a must-do in Murano. Admire the process of glassblowing, with its coordinated movements by multiple artisans. Everyone has a specific function in the furnace and artisans work together like a well-oiled machine. Glass craftsmanship is a tradition that has made Murano famous worldwide. Many factories offer tours and demonstrations, providing an insight into the process of turning molten glass into vases, sculptures, and Murano glass jewelry.
  3. Church of San Pietro Martire: This ancient 14th century church was once dedicated to St, John the Evangelist. Then after a fire in 1511 it weas rebuilt and rededicated to St. Peter. The church’s basic brick facade contrasts with its stunning interior. There are grand Murano Glass chandeliers, paintings by Venetian masters including Veronese, Tintoretto, and Bellini. Further in, the sacristy holds a masterpiece of the local 17th century wood-carving genius Pietro Morando. This is a beloved church of the locals. Every year on December 6th they come here for a special mass to celebrate St. Nicholas, the patron saint of glass artisans.
  4. Campo Santo Stefano and Its Artisan Shops: This square is the center of Murano’s social life, where the locals and tourists gather to eat, socialize, and shop. It is home to the famous Murano Glass Comet – a large modernistic art glass creation crafted by Simone Cenedese. The square features the prominent 19th century clock tower visible from anywhere on the island. On the other side of the canal is the eponymous church of Santo Stefano. Step in to see the tomb of doge Francesco Morosini and a rich sacristy full of outstanding Venetian paintings.
  5. Murano Glass Shops: The shops selling everything from small trinkets to Murano Glass jewelry to vases, sculptures, drinking glasses and tableware dot the island. Spend some time browsing various stores to appreciate the variety of styles, colors, designs and craftsmanship techniques and find what is closest to your heart. After discovering your favorite designs, find out where prices are the most reasonable. If you can, buy a piece that will always remind you of your special trip to Murano, Italy.

Get The Full Murano Experience

Beyond the attractions, the full Murano experience allows you to experience the local life. Indulge in the local cuisine at authentic restaurants, drink coffee in little coffee shops where you can observe the slow enjoyment of life. Stroll along the quiet canals, and interact with the locals whose families have been involved in glassmaking for generations. The warmth of the Murano residents, the fresh local food, and slow pace of life will enrich your Murano experience. You will remember it long after you leave.

Still in Doubt? Visit Murano and Share Your Story

Murano, Italy, is a special destination. It may lack the allure of Rome, Venice and Florence with their masterpiece-packed museums. But it offers so much in the way of authentic Italian experience that you simply cannot miss it. Some people visit for Murano glass, others for the promise of a quiet respite from Venice’s crowds. Regardless, Murano awaits with colorful glass, surprisingly rich art collections in local churches, and simple pleasures that define Italian famous “la dolce vita”. Have you visited Murano island? Share your impressions in the comments under this post for fellow travelers who are still not sure whether carving a day out of a packed Italian itinerary for Murano is worth it.


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