If you’ve already been to Venice, maybe more than once, then it might be time to discover something new in the lagoon! We propose the darling village of Murano. Famous for its exquisite craftsmanship of handblown glass, Murano is full of charm and is the perfect getaway.
Murano’s Infinite Charm
Murano has a long history as rich as Venice itself. It earned its reputation for artisan glass making when the Most Serene Republic of Venice ordered all the glassmakers to transfer their shops to the tiny island of Murano in the year 1291. They realized that keeping the shops in Venice posed too great of a fire hazard. Of course, Venice has been known for its exceptional craft of handblown glass since Roman times.
Murano’s Colorful Houses
So you’re probably wondering what the vibrantly painted houses have to do with glass. The most plausible theory for Murano’s (and Burano’s) signature-colored houses likely stems from their ancient fishing traditions, not glassmaking. It’s believed that the fishermen needed to identify their particular house in order to dock when they returned home from sea in the thick fog. Today, the hues of blue, pink, yellow, orange, purple, and green are a big part of the villages’ appeal.
What to See in Murano
Aside from the colors, the first thing that will strike you as interesting is that Murano is set up like a miniature Venice- it even has its own Grand Canal. There is quite a bit to see here for such a tiny island.
Church of San Pietro Martire
One of its highlights is definitely the Church of San Pietro Martire where you’ll find numerous pieces of precious art that were stashed here for safekeeping during Napoleon‘s raids. Great Venetian artists such as Giovanni Bellini, Bartolomeo Vivarini, Paolo Veronese, Jacopo and Domenico Tintoretto all left their mark here. The original building dates to the mid-1300s but a devastating fire completely burned it to the ground in 1474. The church as it appears today is a result of its rebuilding in 1511.
Basilica dei Santi Maria and Donato
The Basilica of Saints Maria and Donato is a Venetian-Byzantine masterpiece of overwhelming proportions. If you think the exterior is impressive, wait until you see the mosaics inside. Both the floors and central apse contain exquisite mosaics done by master Venetian artists trained in Byzantine style from the 12th century.
The Glass Museum
Now for the reason most people visit Murano: its signature glass. The Museo del Vetro recounts Venice’s great artisan history from the 13th century to the present with hundreds of one-of-a-kind examples. Open daily from 10 to 6. Visit the official website for more information.
The “Glass Cathedral”
Santa Chiara, la Cattedrale del vetro is a furnace and glass factory housed in the former Santa Chiara Cathedral. It is one of the oldest buildings in Murano and has seen the likes of Casanova and many of Venice’s Doges. Today, you can tour this magnificent space and witness a live glass-blowing demonstration. Santa Chiara also holds numerous private events including weddings and masquerade balls during the Carnival season. Visit the official website for more information.
Murano is very easy to get to from Venice via public transportation, known as ACTV. You can purchase tickets in advance online on the ACTV official website.