Tag Archives: Murano Glass History

Highlights Of The Murano Glass Museum

The Murano Glass Museum is a major tourist attraction on Venetian island of Murano, and one that uniquely represents the rich history of glassmaking present on the small Venetian island. Many tourists wish to visit the museum, and rightly so, as the large venue houses historical artifacts and beautiful displays that are unique to Murano.

There are both permanent and temporary exhibitions open to tourists, and those who purchase tickets are granted admission to the majority of the museum, including any special or seasonal shows. The museum was renovated recently, and the building itself is almost as beautiful as the treasures kept within it. Below, we detail some of the highlights of the Murano Glass Museum, that stand out amongst all of the stunning exhibitions.

Murano Glass Museum Permanent Exposition

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The Great Murano Glass Masters: Alfredo Barbini

Murano’s history is made by hundreds of talented and ingenious glass masters. Many of them attained prominence centuries ago, while others are still stunning the world with dazzling creations. Others have collaborated together to evolve the glass-making industry and bring it global fame, which it is still enjoying today. Each and every one of them, however, has contributed invaluably to Murano’s history and beauty, surprising admirers and collectors with new ideas, artistic boldness, and alluring designs. Such is the case of the Barbini family, who has been an important presence in Murano’s history since ages ago, and is still present in today’s picture.

The Barbini family goes back a long way. Their story in the Murano Glass industry can be traced back to the XVI century, when the family name was added to Venice’s Golden Book, a book known for containing the crème de la crème of Venetian noble families and the best glass masters, whose guild received special permission to be in the Book. Members of the Barbini family played active roles in Venice’s history for a long time, be it in politics, commerce, or different areas of glass production. Many of them became famous thanks to their beautiful Venetian mirrors, others thanks to their enamel glass, others still for making majestic chandeliers. Some members of the Barbini family even moved to abroad in order to create decorative glass exclusively for royal houses and the wealthiest foreign families. During the following centuries the Barbini family started counseling other glass masters, such as Pietro Bigaglia, the Briati family, the Bertolini brothers and Benetto Barbaria. All of them in turn went on to make significant contributions to Murano’s glass-blowing innovations and history.
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The Great Murano Glass Masters: Paolo Venini

When talking about Murano’s history in glassmaking, it is natural to find only the best of the best glass masters working on these precious and unique designs. Some of these stories are full of unexpected surprises, stunning beginnings, and eminent success. Such is the case of Venini, one of Italy’s oldest and most renowned glass masters of all times. 

Born in a small town near Milan in 1895, Paolo Venini studied to become a lawyer but would soon change course when he crossed paths with fellow Italian Giacomo Cappellin. In 1921, the two Italian entrepreneurs opened their first glass factory in Murano, naming it Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Cappellin Venini & C. A third associate, Andrea Rioda, would later join the team. The idea was to reopen Rioda’s glass factory and summon back all of the company’s former glassblowers, taking advantage of the firm’s long history and know-how. Unfortunately, their plans did not go accordingly due to Rioda’s departing before the beginning of production. The partnership further dissolved after Cappellin decided to part ways in 1925 in order to launch another firm, taking many glass masters with him along the way. Venini, however, managed to reposition himself as one of Murano’s leading glass masters, renaming his company Venini & C.
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The Great Murano Glass Masters: Carlo Moretti

When talking of the great glass masters of Murano one does not necessarily need to go hundreds of years back in history. We need only look a few decades back to find some of the most ingenious and innovative minds behind this craft. Amongst them we find Carlo Moretti, a company established no more than 60 years ago, and that has proven to be a true pioneer and innovator in the history of Murano glass.

Created in 1958 in Murano by brothers Carlo and Giovanni Moretti, this company stands as one of a kind in the city’s vast history of glassmakers. Carlo Moretti gathers the excellence of Italian design, hundreds of years of Venetian tradition and immense entrepreneurial courage. The firm, born out of love and admiration for glassmaking, takes inspiration from the Venetian Lagoon and its beautiful colors. It is the very same city that acts as constant inspiration in each and every one of their designs, reflecting its movements, colors and vibrations through glass. Carlo Moretti is one of the few remaining artisan factories (fabbrica d’autore) in Murano. This means each piece that comes out of their furnaces does not only bare a serial number, but also a huge research background and customization. Collecting Moretti artworks means being fully aware of owning one of a kind pieces produced in limited editions, authentic and with masterful know-how.

Carlo Moretti Murano Showroom
Carlo Moretti Murano Showroom

A lover of classical music, traveling and architecture, Carlo Moretti was a true Venetian. Born in Murano in 1934, he studied to become a lawyer but would soon change course after discovering his passion for Murano glass. Fully dedicating his time and perseverance to glassmaking, he founded Carlo Moretti along with his brother, Giovanni, in 1958. Being the glass lover he was, Carlo took full control of the creative side of the company, looking over the design and production process at all times. Suddenly gaining recognition, he was honored with multiple awards and conference requests, sharing his passion and experience with the rest of the world. It was his love for different cultures and constant learning that gave him a keen eye for innovation. His time spent traveling and visiting uncountable museums around the world gave him an ample vision in classic and contemporary design, opening his mind to new and unforeseen trends in the glassmaking industry. Moretti’s passing in 2008, coinciding with the brand’s 50th anniversary, left his brother Giovanni at the front of the company, along with a personal style never to be forgotten.
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The Great Murano Glass Masters: Salviati

With famous admiration for the beautiful Venetian island of Murano and an ongoing interest for innovation, the Salviati family have traced their own and quite important path in the history of Murano glassmakers. It has never been said that in order to belong to Murano’s coveted family of glass artists one needs to be born into one, and Salviati has proven this to be right. With a past in mosaic production and an incomparable sense of pioneering, this family brought a twist to the established rules and traditions of the glassmaking industry.
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The Great Murano Glass Masters: Barovier Family

Barovier name is synonymous with Murano Glass. Over the centuries various members of Barovier family have been leaders, innovators, and vigorous promoters of Murano Glass art. Barovier & Toso is an Italian glass-making company, one of Murano’s most ancient families in the craft, and yet one whose style transcends time and whose quality has been consistently held in high regard for centuries. Nominated as the world’s longest established family of glass workers, and one of the world’s oldest continuously operating family businesses, for almost a thousand years Barovier’s family business has maintained keen interest in culture, constant innovation and drive for perfection.

The Venetian glass-making tradition – of which the Barovier family has been a frequent leader – is the very core of this family’s unique creations; it is the starting point of the Barovier history. The first known records of Barovier family members working as glass masters on Murano date back to 1324, specifically mentioning Jacobello Barovier and his sons Antonio Barovier and Bartolomeo Barovier. The descendants of Viviano Barovier and Jacobo Barovier who lived and worked on Murano island in the 14th century gave rise to the more famous Barovier family members who became well known during Renaissance. Continue reading

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Murano Glass Museum: the History Behind the Art

Nothing ever seems real in Venice: its beauty, its history, its art. That same feeling expands all the way over to the Island of Murano, a small island near Venice, easily reachable by vaporetto. Murano is just as rich in beauty and art; it offers the warmth and cheer one usually expects to find in small Italian towns. This island, however, possesses a very special spot that sets the place apart: Fondamenta Giustinian 8, Murano’s Glass Museum.

The palace, Palazzo Giustinian, originally built in Gothic style, was used as a residence for the bishops of Torcello, and was later acquired by the Bishop Marco Giustinian in 1659. The bishop brought many changes to the property, refurnishing and redecorating it with rich frescoes and paintings by Francesco Zugno and Francesco Zanchi.

The museum’s biggest treasure is its vast Murano Glass collection that keeps expanding thanks to constant addition of contemporary pieces. Gathering such a unique collection in one place would not have been possible without the initiative of Antonio Colleoni, then the mayor of Murano. Working together with Abbot Zanetti, Murano Glass and art enthusiast, they set out to gather and systematize Murano Glass archives detailing the history of the craft through the ages. In 1861 Colleoni opened the palace’s doors as a glass museum for the first time in 1861. It was in the grand salon where it all started – the history, the archive, the unveiling of this long forgotten art – later expanding to every room in the museum.
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The Great Murano Glass Masters: Archimede Seguso

Vetreria Seguso
Murano Glass is an art, and like any other art form it has its famous geniuses, the real artists who had talent, vision, and persistence to move it forward. In the thousand years of its existence, Murano Glass evolved from the humble beginnings of crammed Murano Island workshops of the middle ages to the international fame it enjoys today. Many famous Murano Glass artists brought about this evolution, but one of the top names and the real revolutionary in the conservative world of Murano Glass was Archimede Seguso.

Have you ever found yourself gazing at the gorgeous window displays of numerous Murano Glass stores in Venice amazed at the infinite possibilities of colors and forms, and wondering about the masters behind them? Lots of Murano Glass artisans work on the Island today and many family workshops have been proudly making Murano Glass for generations, yet none is as famous as Seguso. Behind Seguso label, lays one of Venice’s most marvelous and dazzling stories. This family name conceals secrets to masterful skills, inimitable talent and transcendent works of art.

It all started with Archimede Seguso, born on the island of Murano, in 1909.Shy, brilliant and quite distinguished, Archimede Seguso was a man of intellect, yet at the same time, he used the art of glass making to express himself. Never following any model or predefined idea, Seguso would come up with different methods and techniques never seen before in glass making. It was this boldness mixed with his genius that positioned him as a reference point for other artists and artisans.
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Murano Island – 720 Years of Creating Glass




Visting Murano is a part of our job. But it is also our passion. We have just returned from yet another trip and cannot wait to share our impressions with you.

Murano is a small island only 2 miles away from Venice. Little water buses, or vaporettos as they are known in Venice, transport you to Murano from Venice in about 10 minutes, and when you get off, you feel like you just returned to the Venice of centuries past. Floating peacefully on the water, with colorful historic houses and palazzos lining its canals, Murano presents a much calmer, and more real alternative to the touristic hustle and bustle of nearby Venice. People go about their business, the canals are full with boats transporting goods, the children are walking home from school chatting and laughing, and history and beauty are surrounding all of this. Just by observing the everyday life on this historic island you feel like you are thrown into a different day and age, more carefree and more simple.

But Murano is much more than a curious tourist destination. For over 700 years Murano has been the place where the magic of glass is created from water, sand, and some minerals in the simple furnaces heated up to 1700 degrees Celsius or 3090 degrees Fahrenheit. But what makes this more than a chemical process is the talent and skill of the masters who breath life into the glass mixture and shape it to become the amazing pieces of art that are famous world-wide. The process of Murano glass-making has remained virtually unchanged since the middle ages. Today, walking around the island of Murano, we see the little factories everywhere, often employing only a few people, members of the same family. In a typical glass-making family, many of which have been doing this work for generations, the business roles are traditional as well: the father and sons work the glass, the mother and the sisters assist in the process, pack ready items for sale in Venice or shipping outside, and work with the clients.

Looking at the artisans work their magic moving gracefully between the furnace and the special bench used for shaping the glass, manipulating simple age-old instruments, talking quietly to each other, it seems that this process is invariable like the change of seasons – that it’ll always be here and cannot be stopped. However, this impression is far from reality. With the spread of globalization the artistry of Murano Glass is in danger. Between the inflow of cheap counterfeit glass from the East, the rising costs of raw materials, the economic woes in the West, and the difficult working conditions, including standing up all day in the heat of the furnaces, the young people even from the old glass-making families increasingly flock to the easier and more profitable jobs on “terra ferma”, as Venetians call the main land. Many factories and workshops have closed in recent years unable to compete with China and to find enough clients. And with each closing factory goes the mastery and the artistic touch of that particular glassmaker, which cannot be easily picked up by anyone else, and the Art of Murano Glass suffers from each loss.


This is part of the reason why, years ago, we established our company GlassOfVenice.com. Our mission is not only to bring the beautiful historic art of Murano Glass to people worldwide, but also to help this amazing art survive and flourish. By establishing close connections with the artisans and collaborating with them to continue creating new and traditional Murano Glass objects we help them reach those who appreciate and value high-quality handcrafted artistic products and the heritage of Murano Glass. In the end it is you, our customers, who help Murano Glass art survive and prosper, and we thank you for your loyalty and hope for your continued patronage.

View of Murano, Italy
View of Murano, Italy
Murano, Italy
Creating authentic Murano Glass Creating authentic Murano GlassMaking Murano Glass

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Christmas in Venice: Romance, Art, Tradition

Christmas in Venice ItalyChristmas is an enchanted time, especially when it’s celebrated in the enchanted city of Venice. Winter Holidays bring special cheer and magic to Venice and we will give you a quick overview of Venetian celebrations and events this holiday season.

This year Venice set up its largest skating rink ever on Piazza San Polo surrounded by a traditional Christmas market. At the market you can buy Murano Glass, Venetian masks, and other local artisanal products, as well as try great local food and wine. When you get tired of skating and feel like getting a culture fix, you can visit a very interesting exhibition in Murano Glass Museum on the island of Murano, entitled “1861-2011: UN’ISOLA, UN’ARTE, UN MUSEO” (translated as “One Island, One Art, One Museum”). This retrospective exhibition dedicated to the long history of Murano glass-making offers insight into Murano Glass tradition and showcases almost two hundred of the most significant items in the Museum’s collection made in the last 150 years.

If you are in Venice over the Holidays, you will get a chance to enjoy some colorful centuries-old Christmas traditions honored here and in the rest of Italy. One of them is Messa di Mezzanotte, Christmas Mass that starts around midnight. After the Christmas dinner, families head out and walk brightly decorated streets to a candle-lit church, where choirs sing Christmas songs and create true Christmas spirit. Evoking spiritual traditions of the centuries past, festive and beautiful Messa di Mezzanotte is an event not to be missed.

After Christmas, all eyes turn to the New Years with its own share of colorful celebrations and interesting traditions. Make sure to eat lentils on December 31st to attract money and riches in the new year. Lentils symbolize coins, and, according to the Italian tradition, the more you eat, the more money you’ll get. On New Year’s eve, most Italians serve their lentils with either cotechino (pork sausage) or zampone (pig’s trotter stuffed with the same filling as cotechino). After this feast, head to Piazza San Marco, where New Year celebrations take place. The festivities focused on beauty and romance and entitled “The Love Celebration” will continue through the night and culminate with the spectacular fireworks over the Venetian Lagoon.

Whether you manage to travel to Italy this Holiday season or just enjoy reading about Venice and Italy, we hope you get a cue from Italians and remember to take a break to enjoy good food, festive atmosphere, art, and the company of friends.
Murano Glass Christmas Ornament

Happy Holidays from all of us at GlassOfVenice and best wishes for happy and prosperous New Year!

Holiday Sale Reminder

Remember to take advantage of our limited time Holiday Special and get 15% OFF everything on our website when you use coupon DECSALE15 during Checkout until January 1st, 2012. Plus, as always, get free shipping in the U.S. on all orders over $100 and discounted shipping on all other orders.

To get your own piece of artistic Murano Glass, please see our wide selection of authentic Murano Glass at www.GlassOfVenice.com

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