History of Murano glass
Murano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, located north-east of Venice, along the Marani canal. Just like Venice it comprises of seven minor islands, two of which are artificial, divided by canals and connected by bridges. This Island is very famous for the characteristic way in which glass is processed.
The history of Murano glass dates back to ancient times. Excavations have brought to light fragments indicating the existence of glass art in the island already in the seventh century BC. During that time the art was heavily influenced by Arabs and Asians, since Venice was an important commercial port. It wasn't until the Thirteenth century however that the art of Murano glass became an organized manufacturing activity.
It was in 1291, to be exact, that the Venetian Republic, to prevent the burning of building in the city, ordered glassmakers to move all the foundries to the island. Later on, during the same year, the Doge Tiepolo declared the Island of Murano an industrial area and it soon became the capital of glass production worldwide. The best glass artists of the world lived in Venice and Venice was very jealous of them, so much that every attempt by a glass maker to leave the country was severely punished.
Initially the production consisted largely of objects such as bottles for wine or oil, drinking glasses, lamps, and so on. Glass for windows, tiles, and beads for necklaces were also produced, but in the fifteenth century Murano achieved international fame for the production of blown glass, thanks to artisans with the highest technical and artistic skills. Typical of Murano are the “reticello” glass, “all'avventurina” glass, “a ghiaccio” (ice) glass, and “millefiori” glass, which are copied all over the world. With the end of the Venetian Republic, the glass production came almost to a complete stop and only a few shops remained open. In the second half of the eighteenth century however, glass production resumed full activities and several schools were started for future glassmakers. In 1861 the Museum of Glass in Murano was opened.
The museum is still open to the public, but since it is undergoing some restoration, only five rooms can be visited. Nonetheless opening times are 10am to 6pm.