Even today, Murano glass objects from Venice and the islands are among the most sought-after products made in Italy. The Murano glass brand is synonymous with elegance and, above all, certified quality: only authorized companies can boast of it, whose work protects the tradition and characteristics of the works sold. This is why the glass work of the master glassmakers who generally have their workshops on the island of Murano can be considered an artistic and artisan heritage of considerable value.
Let’s take a look at this ancient art and discover its secrets together.
In the wider Venice Lagoon there are several islands where time seems to have stopped, with little societies slightly different from mainland and from Venice itself. One of those island is Murano, the island of glass: here you find artists and artisans working and blowing glass with centuries-old techniques passed by master craftsmen. If you want to discover something more about Murano Glass, don’t miss visits and workshop in Murano’s ancient glassmakers! Try the life of a glassmaker for one, two or three days… are you going to be the new glassblower in town?
The history of Murano glass
The art of Venetian glassmaking has ancient roots and is based on Roman and Byzantine knowledge. When it developed it was based in Venice, but for fear of fire, it was later decided that the artisan glassmakers moved to the island of Murano, and their workshops were concentrated in particular along the famous Rio dei Vetrai. Particular is the fact that unlike other areas where glass processing was widespread, that is, near the raw materials, Venice and Murano used materials that they imported from places even far away, such as wood that came from Dalmatia. To illustrate the importance of Venetian glass production, it is enough to think that master glassmakers also enjoyed a certain prestige in society: they were enrolled in the golden book of the Venetian patrician families and their daughters could marry the noble offspring. The Murano glassmakers also created crystal in 1450: a refined and valuable quality of glass that, synonymous with elegance, became in great demand in the courts. The refined productions of Murano were known worldwide and, in the eighteenth century, (the time of decline of the Serenissima) were widely requested by the courts of the nobles of the Baroque period, who particularly appreciated the variety of roses: a peculiar milk-white glass that, for its color, well matched the furniture of the time. Today the Murano glassworks, despite maintaining its traditions intact, is probably one of the Italian artisan realities most closely linked to design and contemporary art.
Lamp glass processing: an ancient technique
Murano artistic glass has various types of processing. The lamp glass, different from the one in the furnace, is so called because it was once used as a source of heat an oil lamp, now replaced by a “torch” connected to a cylinder of gas mixed with oxygen or air. There are two main types of glass: borosilicate glass, which is harder and more resistant, and Murano glass, which is softer and generally more widely used than the previous one. From the initial ball obtained from the heated and modelled glass rod, the craftsman is able to forge his creations with various tools, be they scissors, pliers or a simple worktop. The glass rods exist of various diameters and countless colors. Well-known are the “flowered” ones, whose section represents a flower and are often used for the creation of murrines. There is no limit to creativity!
How do you make glass?
You have certainly already visited the island of Murano, perhaps on a school trip and you have certainly happened to peek into some furnace glimpsing the flames and be invested with hot flashes that came from inside. The workshops in which the Murano glassmakers create their artifacts resemble small workshops of wonders. The mastery with which they mould incandescent and soft glass, almost as if it were caramel, is fascinating, at times hypnotic.
If you think you want to know even more about our article, you will have some doubts and will have several opportunities to try with your hand what it means to be a master glassmaker.
Murano Glass Processing: Become an expert in this age-old art.
Creations with brilliant colours, eclectic and delicate shapes like soap bubbles.
This splendid art has in itself a nonsochè of magical and ancient at the same time. During the glass processing, men, who almost look like blacksmiths, with delicate and expert movements make flourish in their hands refined unique pieces.
But we assure you that living it first hand is a whole different pair of sleeves as they say!
With the heat, the soft material in your hands will take shape according to your desires. You will be guided by skilled craftsmen and you will create your own personal artifact. Whether you want to keep it all for yourself as a small trophy or make a special gift to a loved one, it will certainly be an experience that you will not forget.
You can either create light beads to compose personalised jewellery in authentic Murano glass, or learn the techniques of matching colours and threading to create unique necklaces and earrings. In Murano or Venice, alone or in company, for one or more days, you just have to choose and release the inspiration that is in you!
Museum of Murano glass: the enchantment of glass
The glass museum is located in Murano and was founded in 1861. Born as an archive, a school of glassmakers was later annexed to the building and soon its function will become that of today.
The museum houses artefacts ranging from archaeological finds from the Roman era to the contemporary sector, which still today is enriched with new and unique works.
Inside the museum there is also a section dedicated to the murrine, the work of which dates back to Roman times. They are obtained by combining cold sections of glass rods or tiles, then compacted with heat to give shape to colorful artifacts.
Observe the creations of blown glass and the tools used to make them and remember that the museum is part of the Musei Civici Veneziani circuit and the ticket can be combined with other structures.
Vaporetto stop: Museum. You can’t go wrong!
Become a murano glass artist!
How is Murano glass made? If watching is not enough, it’s time to try it! The funny and very well structured workshop “perle a lume” will make you able to transform glass into shiny beads: the beads are then pierced to become your hand-made Venetian jewel – a very original souvenir! One bead is not enough? Learn how to create your jewel with glass: in Muriel’s workshop you can learn interesting techniques, and even children can participate! It’s a perfect idea if you want to leave children in a safe and funny place while you tour the island!
More glass creations: discover the workshops in Murano
In Murano island, glass in transformed into beads, murine and in many artisanal and artistic objects: sometimes they are traditional creations, sometimes they are completely unexpected, like in Moulaye workshop. In this ancient bottega you can join very peculiar workshops like the normal one or the longer Murano Glass workshop, depending on your passions, your interests and your curiosity. The bottega is called Muranero, mixing the word “Murano” and the word “nero”, since Moulaye, the master glassmaker, comes from Africa and made a very long and brilliant carrier, becoming the first non-italian glassmaker of Murano! His extraordinary techniques, innovative and surprising, add something new to local art.