Venice tip: Free glass blowing demonstrations on Murano

Posted in: Venice Sights

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murano

Glass blowing is hot stuff; photo by dreadpiratejeff

In Venice, land of gondolas and Guggenheims (Peggy, that is), glass artisans have always thrived. In fact, the island directly north of the city center, Murano, is known as “Glass Island.” Since the 1200s, Venice’s major talents in the glass industry have set up shop here, first making one-of-a-kind pieces for royalty and today, offering their services to the masses.

Glass pass

A trip to Murano is easy, but here’s a quick primer: First, we recommend wandering the streets of Venice proper. Get lost (it’s easy to do!) and browse the windows of the trendy glass shops. Chances are you’ll fall in love with a delicate lamp, or maybe a colorful ashtray, or just a pretty set of wine glasses.

Then, instead of paying retail, hop on a vaporetto and head to Murano. Take in a free glass blowing demonstration. If you’re not visiting one of the bigger factories, there’s no need to make an appointment. Simply stop in and start watching. Most artisans will let you walk right into their warehouses while they’re working. If you’re really lucky, you’ll meet and talk to one of the traditionally trained glass blowers or artists.

Next, ask for a sample (this really only applies to those smaller shops, not factories). Sometimes, they’ll hand you a remnant of colored glass free of charge. Most often, you can buy their unique glass art at a discounted cost.

Or, if you’ve got €5.50 (€3 reduced) to spare, take a tour of the Museo Vetrario (The Glass House). For information including restoration projects and opening and closing times, go here (click on the subheads on the left).

Fun fact: The most well known glass blowers in town are Pauly & C (Compagnia Veneto). Visit their web site (in Italian only) for information about the artists that work there.

Mura-no-no

Ok, so it’s true that people in glass houses (or factories) shouldn’t throw stones. But, just a quick and diplomatic tourist trap note: We’ve heard tales that the Vecchia Murano Glass Factory can be pricey once you’re through the front door. As usual, we suggest sticking with the Ma and Pop glass shops and those single artisan stores.

For more on visiting Murano, go here.

About the author

Meredith Franco Meyers

About the author: Meredith earned an MFA in fiction writing at The New School in New York City. Her feature stories and articles have appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, American Baby, Self, Bridal Guide, Time Out New York, Fitness and more. She joined EuroCheapo in summer 2007.

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5 thoughts on “Venice tip: Free glass blowing demonstrations on Murano”

  1. I am having such a difficult time reaching someone who might know if Picaasso worked in Murano 50, 60, or 7o years ago!.

    i AM DOING RESEARCH . Thank youu fpr any help you may give me or any source I may go to.

    Leslie Sweedler

    leslies44@verizon.net

    Reply
  2. Meredith Franco

    Thanks “Vecchia Murano Glass Factory” for sending us your note. We’ll keep you on our list of noteworthy splurges, since this post was about glass factories that have free tours and usually offer less expensive souvenir items.

    Reply
  3. Our glass factory has products made by our own glass artists which do make original handmade and unique art pieces, as anybody may notice on our webiste www. vecchiamurano.it. The prices does go accoridng to the value and craftmanship of our special products. Vecchia Murano is one of the oldest glass factories in Venice and has been rewarded with National and International Rewards. If you like please contact us directly and we will be glad to assist in any query.

    Reply

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