Tag Archives: Murano glass information

Where To See Murano Glass Blowing

Where To See Murano Glass Blowing is the most frequent question about Murano Glass that we receive at GlassOfVenice. 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. These showrooms run very basic short demonstrations and quickly usher you into the retail area urging you 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.

Read on to find out how to locate the best glass-making demonstration on Murano island. We also strongly recommend to steer clear of hotel-sponsored trips to see Murano glass-making, or following suggestions of people strategically standing near vaporetto stops with signs on seeing Murano glass-making.

Murano Glass Blowing is a mesmerizing process which takes its roots from Roman glass-blowing and has evolved over the centuries in 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 on Murano, and all the masters we work with at Glass of Venice have learned their craft in this way.

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.

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

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.

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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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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History and Grandeur of Murano Glass Chandeliers

Murano Glass ChandelierVery few objects are so recognizable the world over and have been the symbols and statements of wealth for so long as Venetian Glass Chandeliers. In the 17th century, when Venice was a mighty and rich maritime republic, Venetian nobility and merchants strived to outperform each other in demonstrating their power and wealth. Murano Glass industry flourished with talented glass masters rushing to create ever more elaborate articles of interior design to satisfy demand from their rich clientele. In addition to elegant mirrors, elaborate goblets, and gold-accented tableware, the glass masters created new designs of lighting fixtures. Replacing the unattractive and unwieldy wooden and wrought iron chandeliers of the past, the new chandeliers appeared airy, translucent, sparkly, and were richly decorated for a grand opulent look.

It was in those times that one of the mightiest Venetian families of the 17th century, Rezzonico, was building their magnificent residence, Ca’ Rezzonico, overlooking the Grand Canal. Designed by Giorgio Massari, a well-known Venetian architect, and decorated by the best artists and artisans in Venice, the palace featured beautiful façade, a grand staircase, and an unusual grandiose ballroom. The uniquely constructed soaring ceiling in the Ballroom was created by eliminating the second floor in part of the building. As a highlight of this grandeur, around 1730 Rezzonico family ordered a chandelier from Murano masters, which had to fit the regal atmosphere of the residence. Using all of their technical skills and knowledge, Murano Glass masters in the factory of Giuseppe Briati created a gorgeous two-tier masterpiece in rare polychrome glass featuring twenty candle-holders. This chandelier is the most amazing such chandelier still in existence today and it still hangs in its original room in Ca’ Rezzonico where tourists can now admire its beauty.
Murano Glass Chandelier
Moreover, this Rezzonico chandelier was so beautiful and famous that it gave rise to the entire style of Murano Glass chandeliers called Rezzonico, which is still produced in Murano Glass workshops. Rezzonico style, always in high demand for residences, hotels, restaurants, luxury boats and public spaces, is characterized by opulent detailing of stems and cups, elaborate floral elements, gorgeous colors, gold decoration, and grand multi-tier structure. Other classic Venetian chandeliers created by Murano masters today continue the famous Murano Glass chandelier tradition of the late 16th – early 17th century with translucent or colorful glass, lush decorative elements, and use of 24K gold and genuine silver leaf for gorgeous and unique look. Recently, more modern and trendy chandelier designs have also become popular, reflecting contemporary artistic trends and search for leaner forms, bolder colors, and more minimalistic styles.

Murano Glass masters have always stood apart from all their competitors around the world not only because of the superior quality of their glass creations, but also thanks to their unique ability to reinvent themselves and their craft while remaining true to the artistic heritage of Venice and traditions of their forefathers. While experimenting with new styles, decorative techniques, and artistic trends, Murano glassmakers carry on the classical traditions of craftsmanship and quality that made them world-famous since the ancient times. Today the descendants of the famous glass artisans of the centuries past continue to create gorgeous chandeliers and other pieces of art glass appreciated by even the most discerning modern-day customers.

by Kevin Grinberg

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Murano Island – The Home of Murano Glass-Making

Visting Murano island in Venice is a part of our job. But it is also our passion. We encourage you to take a trip to Murano to see firsthand how world-famous Murano Glass is made. 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-life alternative to the touristic hustle and bustle of nearby Venice. People go about their business, the canals are full of 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.

Murano Island


Yet 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, or, for smaller items and jewelry, in front of a special torch using an ancient method known as lampworking. What makes this more than a chemical process is the talent and skill of the masters who breathe life into the glass mixture and shape it to become the amazing pieces of art that are famous worldwide.

Murano Glass Making Lampworking Technique


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, who are 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.

Murano Glass ready to ship


Seeing 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 mainland, personified by the grim industrial suburb of Mestre. Many factories and workshops have closed in recent years unable to compete with fake cheap glass from 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.

Murano Glass Making


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.

Millefiori Pendant from GlassOfVenice

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How can I find a spare part for my Murano Glass item?

Continuing with our series of Murano Glass Q&A we’d like to cover a question we get often, which is whether we can help get a spare part for Murano Glass item. Most often this question concerns Murano glass watches and Venetian chandeliers.

Let us start by saying that generally Murano Glass masters do not create spare parts. In the case of Murano Glass chandeliers, it may be possible to obtain a spare part only from the glass factory where you purchased your chandelier. For this reason as well as for quality and service assurance, if you do go to Venice and Murano and decide to purchase a chandelier there, we highly recommend purchasing only from a reputable factory on Murano. Please remember to make a note of the factory’s name, the owners/salesperson’s names and contact information, and keep this info along with your proof of purchase in a safe place in case a delivery fails, the chandelier arrives damaged or not as expected, or you need a spare part years down the road. Alternatively, you can purchase one of our Venetian chandeliers and we will work with the glass makers to provide the required spare part for you should you need it later on.

As for Murano Glass watches, the most sought-after parts are the millefiori-decorated crystal and the leather strap or the bangle. Unfortunately, it is not possible to replace the millefiori crystal, if yours broke the only option is to buy a new watch. Same goes for the bangle bracelet. The strap, however, can be replaced, and we’ll be happy to look into the strap replacement requests for our customers.

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

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Murano Glass Beads on View in Murano Museum

Murano Glass beads are a significant part of Murano Glass history. Besides their function as a base component of Murano Glass jewelry, they were in wide use as currency (then known as trade beads) between the 16th and 20th century when Venetian merchants set voyage to the Middle East and Africa to acquire goods, services and slaves. These days Murano Glass beads produced by the talented Venetian masters represent a wide range of traditional Venetian glass-making techniques and are used to create unique Murano Glass earrings, pendants, necklaces,bracelets, cufflinks, and more. The public usually sees these finished products and does not get the behind-the-scenes look at the wide variety of exquisite Murano Glass beads which Murano artists draw upon for their creations. The Venetian beads are individually hancrafted over a flame or in the special furnace and decorated using traditional Murano glass-making techniques.

The new exhibition at Murano Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro) called “ERCOLE MORETTI. A century of Venetian pearl” seeks to familiarize the public with these beautiful pieces of Venetian Glass Art by displaying a great collection of Rosetta, Mosaic, Millefiori, and Murrina Murano Glass beads and other glass objects created over a period of a century by one of the most renown workshops of Murano, Ercole Moretti and F.lli, which this year celebrates its 100 year anniversary.

The exhibition runs at Murano’s Museo del Vetro from October 9th 2011 to January 6th 2012.



Please see our wide selection of authentic murano glass at www.GlassOfVenice.com

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Watch Our New Murano Glass and Venice Video

We travel to Venice often and every time we visit this magical city we are amazed by its beauty, harmony, and the feeling of decadence that lives in its atmosphere. Our trips are always busy, filled with the visits of Glassworks, meetings with the glass artists and designers, tireless search for new products and fashion trends, and occasional stops to admire all the beauty around us. It is during these stops that we have often thought about a way to bring our clients not just the beautiful glass products created on Murano, but also the feeling of Venice’s fleeting beauty and the whole experience that is Murano Glass.

To achieve this we took our photographers and videographers along on one of our trips, who shot amazing footage of everything we experience when we visit Venice and Murano. We then spent weeks selecting the best moments and merging them together to make a film about Murano Glass like no other. Our unique film lets our clients and Murano Glass fans to experience Murano Glass in its entirety – from the surreal air of Venice, where this art was born, to the burning furnaces of the Glass Masters where it’s being created now, just like centuries ago.
We hope you enjoy this film and come to appreciate Murano Glass in a new way!

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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Glasstress in Venice: Contemporary Art in Murano Glass

Venice Biennale is always a grand event in the world of art, which ambitiously attempts to represent and explore the international contemporary art scene. This years’ Biennale is the 54th one and features artworks spanning painting, photography, film, and modern art installations made of paper, steel, glass, wax and even vapor, presented by 89 countries. Multiple concurrently running shows and exhibitions make up the Biennale and attract hordes of artists, journalists, celebrities and tourists. One of the most interesting exhibitions in this year’s Venice Biennale is Glasstress, an attempt to explore modern art themes in Murano glass. Glasstress is the result of the joint efforts of some of the best contemporary artists who came up with the ideas for sculptures and installations and Adriano Berengo’s Murano glass factory, which implemented them in Murano glass.

Glasstress runs from June 4 to November 27, 2011 and is held at Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti and the Berengo Centre of Contemporary Art and Glass in Venice, Italy.

After Venice Biennale Glasstress will present travelling Murano Glass exhibitions around the world, including one in New York City.

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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Murano Glass Exhibitions in Venice

Venice never ceases to amaze tourists not only with its unique beauty but also with the richness of its cultural heritage and the many museums and exhibitions that offer insights into Venetian history and art. Murano glass art has recently been in the spotlight, and two current exhibitions in Venice celebrate the contribution of two very prominent Murano glass creators – the Venini glassworks and Lino Tagliapietra – to the 20th century renaissance of this ancient Venetian art form.

The first exhibition dedicated to 90 years of Venini family glassworks is called NOVANTESIMO VENINI, 1921 – 2011, and is open until July 10, 2011 at the Murano Glass Museum. It highlights in chronological order the achievements of the famous Venetian glass masters from Venini Glass Company in the time span from 1921 through 2011 and features about 100 works characteristics of various artistic periods in the life of the company.

In another very exciting development, the first ever exhibition of the masterpieces created by world-famous Murano glass master Lino Tagliapetra is set up in Venice and will stay open until May 22, 2011 to the delight of all Venetian glass and Tagliapietra fans. The exhibition is housed in beautiful Grand Canal Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, the home of Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti and features a selection of the best art glass pieces created by the master in the last decade. Lino Tagliapietra, who was born in Murano, Italy in 1934, is one of the most prominent Venetian glass masters currently working, and his creations can be seen in galleries, museums, public spaces and private collections around the world.

If you are in Venice this Spring and Summer, we highly recommend that you visit one or both of these exhibitions for a rare in-depth look at the modern interpretation of the ancient art form that is so unique and characteristic of Venice.

To learn more about Murano glass history and techniques, please visit GlassOfVenice.com

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