Tag Archives: Venetian Art

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


Insider Tips for Travel to Venice

Panorama of Venice

When it comes to visiting Venice, our favorite city in the world, you can count on GlassOfVenice.com for some good unbiased advice. Unlike the travel agencies, whose recommendations always try to sway you toward using their services, we just want you to enjoy this amazing city and keep it in your heart long after your trip is over. Having been to Venice many times, we criss-crossed it leaving no corner unchecked, visited the attractions on and off the beaten path, stayed at various hotels and apartments, ate at all kinds of restaurants and cooked ourselves, befriended the locals, and connected with the city of our dreams on a whole different level. Now we are happy to share our knowledge and experience with all current and future Venice fans. After thinking long and hard we selected 10 best recommendations for Venice visitors. Here are the first five. Look for more in our next post, coming up soon.

1. Come Off-Season

Venice is beautiful any time of the year, but most people visit it in the Summer when it’s warm enough to roam around all day and dine at the outside tables at pretty canal-side restaurants. So what’s not to like about the Summer in Venice? Well, for one it’s the crowds. You will feel suffocated moving with the huge crowds through narrow alleyways and little bridges, not to mention trying to board the vaporettos. The best restaurants (and even the mediocre ones) will be perpetually full making that coveted canal-side dining an unreachable dream. The hotels will be fully booked and expensive, just like the flights, and the heat and humidity of the Summer will have you gasping for air well before mid-day. So heed our advice and head to Venice in the shoulder season (May or September), or better yet, visit in March-April or October. The flights will be much less expensive, the city will not be overrun by tourists and you will be able to enjoy it in a leisurely fashion and take away wonderful memories of a relaxing time in an enchanted place.

2. Stay in an Apartment

Stay in an Apartment in Venice
Venice has over a thousand hotels, but they get booked up very quickly, especially in high season (see point 1 above), and even middle-of-the-road Venetian hotels are quite expensive. Instead of going through the stress of finding a good central hotel at the right price and getting a tiny impersonal room (if you are lucky), we suggest you try an apartment rental instead. Your own apartment in Venice may sound like it is a hassle, but have no fear. We promise that it will actually be an amazing experience, which will let you feel at home in Venice and explore it like locals do. There are many good websites offering apartment rentals where you can specify the time period, see apartment offers complete with photos and maps, and directly contact the owners (many of whom speak English). Homelidays is one such company the services of which we’ve used in the past to get connected with apartment owners in Venice.

3. Avoid Dining near Main Tourist Attractions

Restaurant in Venice
Venice has an incredible variety of dining options, including Michelin star-rated restaurants, low-key family-run osteria’s, trendy bar-style eateries, traditional trattorias, and of course lots of pizzerias on every corner. However, far from making life easy for a hungry traveler, this mind-boggling restaurant scene makes a visitor confused and either looking for direction or settling for the first place they see. It is, of course, best to research ahead of time and seek reviews and recommendations on such sites as Tripadvisor, but if you haven’t, here are a few simple rules to live by when it comes to dining in Venice. Avoid restaurants located near main tourist attractions. It is a bit difficult in Venice, where some feel the entire city is a tourist attraction, but at least try to avoid the area near San Marco and the Grand Canal, Rialto, restaurants on the main piazza’s, near museums, and (with few exceptions) restaurants with canal-side seating. Also avoid the immediate vicinity of the train station, and any traffic-heavy streets where massive crowds move between San Marco, Rialto and the train station. The restaurants located in these areas are usually expensive and offer inferior food, counting on the unadventurous traveler or those unwilling to move away from the beaten path.

4. Visit Rialto Market

Rialto Market in Venice
Amid hundreds of Venetian attractions, most of them several centuries old, it is easy to overlook the more mundane places that are essential to Venetians’ everyday lives. One such place is Rilato Market. However, Rialto Market deserves its own chapter in the book of Venetian history and attractions, and it really is anything but mundane. The Market, one of the oldest in the world, was established in 1097, and in the 12th century the first Rialto bridge was built to make access to the Rialto market easier for pedestrians from all over the town. The market served both retail and wholesale clientele and became famous far beyond Venice. Today Rialto is still a big busy market, with the daily Erberia (green market), and the Pescheria (fish market) visited by many Venetians every day. But beyond offering something for dinner to Venetians, the Rialto is a wonderful experience for a tourist and deserves a close look. Visit Rialto in the morning to witness this ancient Market come alive with merchants praising their goods to discerning buyers. Lively, bustling, and always busy, Rialto is Venice’s beating heart. A stop at the Rialto is a must to feel the soul of Venice, and understand that the city, defying all cries about it dying a slow death, is alive and well.

5. Check Out Gallerie dell’Accademia Museum

Canaletto Paintings are found in Gallerie dell'Accademia
Ever wonder what Venice looked like 500 years ago? There is a place where you can see just that! One of the best Italian museums, Venice’s Gallerie dell’Accademia is the place to see the masterpieces of the Venetian painters from the 14th to the 18th century and to enjoy the world’s best collection of Venice views from the middle ages. Standing in front of Canaletto’s paintings depicting familiar places in Venice, you will be tempted to play the game of “find ten differences” between Venice of centuries ago and the city of today. You will try hard and only find a few. After the initial amazement has passed, spend some time in front of the world-famous paintings by Paolo Veneziano, Tiepolo, Bellini, and Titian, which will make the visit to this gem of a museum the highlight of your Venetian trip.

6. Make an outing to Teatro La Fenice

La Fenice Venice Opera House
When you tell your friends that you are going to Venice you will often hear advice to visit San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, famous museums and wonderful restaurants. But there is more to Venice. Far from simply being an open-air museum and a culinary heaven, Venice is a living breathing city offering much more than its streets, canals and restaurants to the curious tourist. For centuries Venice has been famous around the world as an important cultural and artistic center, continuously innovating and discovering new creative frontiers, be it in painting, architecture, artisanal forms, or theater. The latter flourished in Venice thanks to the rich heritage of Roman religious festivals through advent of Venetian Carnival and unique theater forms, such as Commedia del Arte and Grand Opera, and became favorite pastime of Venetians and enlightened tourists alike in the last 300 plus years. Take an evening to witness the magic of Venetian theater at one of the most famous opera houses in the world- Teatro la Fenice (translated as Phoenix), which, like the mythical Phoenix Bird rose from the ashes of three fires, which ruthlessly burnt it to the ground in 220 years of its existence. As you will see when you step into this opulent gem of a theater and hear the opera divas on stage, La Fenice offers not just a fine operatic production but a unique Venetian experience and an enchanted evening that you will not soon forget.
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Venice on Ice – Enjoy at Your Own Risk

Winter weather in Venice ItalyMost people think of Venice as a sunny city that sees its fair share of natural cataclysms, mainly in the form of floods, which make it even more picturesque, if somewhat challenging to navigate. We bet you haven’t really thought of Venice as Winter Wonderland, with snow covering its cute bridges and ice floating in its canals. Yet this is exactly what Venice has become a week ago.

After weeks of frigid weather and record low temperatures, most of Europe (and even Algeria) lay covered in snow. Europe’s famous waterways and channels froze, turning entire cities into picturesque skating rinks and bringing the nostalgia of the much simpler life in centuries past. However, what brings good old-fashioned fun to cities like Amsterdam and Berlin becomes a logistical nightmare in Venice, which is not accessible by land-based transport. As Venetian Lagoon started freezing over and the canals were covered in ice, Venice struggled to keep its water-based traffic operating. Water taxis were not running for fear of ice damaging the motors, many private boats were docked for the same reason, and special ice-breaking boats were working overtime to clear up the canals for vaporetti, commercial and private boats.

In a sign of the seriousness of the situation, the famous regatta opening the Venetian Carnival was postponed a week due to the ice, the chill, and the winds reaching 30 mph. However, this is not the first winter when Venetians had to suffer from extreme cold and challenging ice, and they are dealing with it by dressing up in stylish warm outfits (read furs), flocking to the bars and restaurants, warming up with coffee, hot chocolate, and stronger liquids, and welcoming the Carnival amid the snow. Venetians certainly love a good show, and in Venice Show Must Go On!

And the Glass Making must go on too. Despite the tough weather, we would like to assure all our customers that none of our shipments from Murano have been delayed due to the hard work of the glass artisans braving the freezing temperatures and chilly winds to bring you the beautiful Murano Glass creations, and the efforts of UPS and FedEx braving the ice of the Venetian Lagoon. In these days of snow and ice the fire of Murano furnaces is burning brighter than ever, and you can enjoy the reflections of its glow with our Murano Glass Art right in the comfort of your own home.

Murano Glass Heart PendantDon’t let your heart freeze over! Stay warm and enjoy winter Venetian-style with GlassOfVenice

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Celebrations of Love: Venice Carnival and Valentine’s Day

As we all know, Venice is one of the few remaining cities that changed very little over the last few centuries. In the spirit of retaining it historic and cultural identity, Venetians keep many of their age-old traditions alive, the most important of which is annual Venetian Carnival. This year the Carnival will take place from February 11th to 21st. If you have never been in Venice during the Carnival, you should definitely make plans to go and experience the magic, enchantment, and breathtaking beauty of Venice as it was meant to be. February is a dull and dreary month in Europe, but not in Venice, thanks to the Carnival which brings out colors, celebrations, music and historic events onto the streets of Venice.

A tribute to Venetian extravagance and decadence, one of the most interesting introductions for the 2012 Carnival will be the Wine Fountain set up in St. Mark’s Square. Set up in front of the Doge’s Palace, this unusual fountain will cast out fine wines produced in Venice which will be offered to the public. Carnival will be opened on February 4th with the official toast made by this Fountain, and, after the opening toast, in a truly Venetian enchanting scene, everyone will be dancing waltz in the Piazzetta San Marco.

Another important part of the Carnival festivities is “The Angel Flight”, a traditional flight of a secret guest of the city of Venice, from the top of the bell tower of St. Mark’s down to the centre of the square. An internationally acclaimed star, whose name has not yet been revealed, will wear a gorgeous Carnival costume and the magical flight will pay homage to the events of the centuries past.

The Venetian Carnival will end on Tuesday, February 21st 2012, with the Rowing of Silence: a picturesque procession of ornate historical boats along the Grand Canal from Rialto to St. Mark’s Square with no artificial lighting. All the gorgeous palaces overlooking the largest Venetian Canal will be lit entirely by candles, and motor boat traffic will be prohibited, recreating the atmosphere of Venice in the middle ages and allowing us to see the magical and unreal Venice just the way it appeared to the travelers centuries ago.

Whether you manage to travel to Italy for the Carnival or choose to stay at home, we hope you don’t forget another important festival of Love that we celebrate here in the U.S. – The Valentine’s Day. And what better way to show your love than with a piece of authentic Murano Glass created right in the Capital of Romance, the timeless and beautiful city of Venice!
Murano Glass Goblet

To help you celebrate and announce your love we announce Special Valentine’s Day Sale from GlassOfVenice.

We invite you to take advantage of our limited time Valentine’s Day Special and get 15% OFF everything on our website when you use coupon VALSALE15 during Checkout until February 15th, 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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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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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.

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Dali in Venice: Paintings, Bronze, Glass and more

Venetian Art - Dali Exhibition in VeniceAs if Venice itself was not surreal enough, a large doze of surrealism was injected into the city’s artistic appeal this Spring. More than 100 works of Salvador Dali, the king of surrealism, are now featured in Venice’s Museo di Sant’Apollonia conveniently located across the canal just behind Basilica San Marco. The exhibition illustrates Dali’s genius in many art forms and his fascination with different materials reflected in the works rarely seen before, such as a collection of Glass Objects made at the famous “Daum Cristallerie” and even a set of Gold Objects. The exhibition is a perfect way to add color and excitement to a foggy Autumn day in Venice and it runs till 11th of November, 2011.


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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Water and Music: Venezia Jazz Festival July 23rd – 31st, 2011

The fourth Venezia Jazz Festival, one of the most famous musical festivals in Italy, will be held in Venice from July the 23rd through 31st, 2011. This unique festival traditionally attracts the most established names in music and this year is no exception with Sting performing on July 29th in Piazza San Marco. This performance will be a part of Sting’s Symphonicity European Tour featuring the musician’s biggest hits in symphonic arrangements. Sting’s fans and lovers of good music will hear such greatest hits as “Roxanne”, “Every Breath You Take”, “Englishman in New York”, “Russians”, “Fields of Gold”, and “Desert Rose”. The Festival program will also include other concerts in Piazza San Marco and in the Fenice Theater, and even special lunches and dinners in various city museums, including Palazzo Grassi, Punta della Dogana, Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

This will be a great week to spend in Venice due to the abundance of music events and entertainment options throughout the town, as well as special Festival-inspired programs in art, literature, and even culinary experiences, many which will be open to the public. Venice is enjoyable any time of the year, but this July you have a unique opportunity to enrich your Venetian experience with wonderful music.

Read more about Venice and see photos of La Serenissima at www.GlassOfVenice.com

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