Thursday, 17 January 2013

Treasures of Venice - Authentic Murano Glass

Ca' Pisani Mirror by Fratelli Tosi
(Venice, Italy) Murano glass is a work of art, appreciated by the civilized world for nearly a millennium. Throughout the centuries, everyone from the global elite to regular folk has enriched their homes and enhanced their appearance with handcrafted Murano glass. Now, has gathered sixteen of the most prestigious companies together and created the only e-commerce site authorized and certified by Promovetro, the Consortium of glass producers on the island of Murano in Venice, to sell products with the "Vetro Artistico® Murano" trademark. All great creations have many imitations, so this guarantees that you are purchasing an authentic piece of handcrafted Murano glass from Venice itself.

Classic Cubes Necklace by Ercole Moretti
The enigmatic island of Murano is just a five minute vaporetto ride from the center of Venice, yet it is mysterious enough even to Venetians. Remnants from the past can still be felt today, something that makes Murano glass unique. The art of blowing glass is often passed from generation to generation, who are closed-mouthed about the family secrets. Like the Montagues and the Capulets, feuds rage between families, or even between different branches of the same family itself. Techniques are carefully guarded, and competition is fierce, creating an environment that produces unique items of excellence. The Venetian glass industry is of such importance that, in the past, a glassblower who revealed his secrets would be punished, fined and ostracized from the community.

Goto Kaia Drinking Glass Set by Dipi
Because of the enormous amount of heat generated by the furnaces and concerns about fire, Venetian glass blowing was moved from Venice proper to the smaller island of Murano in 1291, where many of the factories are still located today. To keep the glass masters loyal and content, the Doge of Venice bestowed many privileges upon them, and they soon became Murano's most prominent citizens. The Muranesi had their own "Golden Book" which listed the most important families, creating dynasties that still exist informally today, long after the fall of the Republic in 1797 during the Napoleonic conquest. Cloistering the glassmakers on an island, making them take a vow of secrecy, and turning them into aristocrats, practically guaranteed the Venetians a monopoly on the glass-blowing industry.

Diamond Perfume Bottle by Alessandro Mandruzzato
The art of glass making dates back to ancient times, to 3500BC in Mesopotamia. Blowing the glass is a "newer" concept, about 2,000 years old. The earliest written record of glass blowing in Venice dates back to 982AD, although pieces of glass have been found on the nearby island of Torcello that originate two centuries earlier. Throughout the centuries, the coveted information of what ingredients to mix together and in what quantities has been lost and rediscovered.

Schumann Chandelier by Formia International
At the glass museum on Murano, visitors can learn about the evolution of local glass. The main element is silica, most commonly found in sand or quartz. The ancient Venetians dredged their silica out of the Ticino River in the form of pebbles, which were then crushed. Silica becomes liquid at high temperatures. Other elements such as arsenic to eliminate bubbles are added to the mix, which, when cooled, becomes glass. Today, the process of glass blowing on Murano remains much the same as centuries ago except the furnaces are heated by natural gas, not wood, and the ingredients come from different localities. The tools themselves used by the glass blowers date back to the Middle Ages.

Medusa Vase by Simone Cenedese
The word fabbrica translates to "factory" in English, which conjures up the image of enormous assembly lines. However, an Italian fabbrica is often an intimate workplace, with only a few employees not capable of producing mass quantities of goods. Government controls on the glass blowing industry are rigorous and costly, taxes are high, and the price of the top-quality ingredients is steep. So if you happen upon a piece of "Murano glass" for a bargain price, chances are that it is an imitation, and not the authentic craftsmanship that is guaranteed by

Whether you are looking for an impressive gift, or to add a touch of Venice to your home, or a dazzling accessory to enhance your wardrobe, Murano glass is an investment that will retain or increase its value over time. In a rapidly changing world where so much is fleeting, Murano glass is a solid object of beauty created by human hands with knowledge that has been passed down throughout the centuries.

Canaletto Goblet by Seguso Gianni
Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

Treasures of Venice - Authentic Murano Glass is a sponsored post by


  1. Murano glass is a work of art, appreciated by the civilized world for nearly a millennium. Throughout the centuries, everyone from the global elite to regular folk has enriched their homes and enhanced their appearance with handcrafted Murano glass.

    1. In germany we set up a page for these wonderful pieces of art, beeing found on !

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