Murano is one of the islands in the Venetian lagoon – I have briefly talked about it in my previous post “Venice lagoon and the Islands” and today we’ll look at it more in depth.
How to get there: whether you get to Venice by train or by car, if your first destination is Murano you’ll jump right on the Vaporetto (waterbus) line number 4.2 from Piazzale Roma at stop B; this is the best option to head straight to a blown glass demonstration as it stops at Murano Colonna, near the Fondamenta dei Vetrai where most glass factories are located. Other options are: line 3, also from Piazzale Roma; line 12 from Fondamenta Nove (2.6 km from the train station, about 30 min. walk); line 7 from San Zaccaria next to St Mark’s Square. The ride to Murano takes about 30 min. or less, if departing from Fondamenta Nove, and the boats run about every 20 min.
A ticket machine by the Vaporetto stop: It has language selection and it takes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner’s Club and Italian Bancomat cards. It the tellers have long lines, these machine are simple to use. This is also where you’d print your ticket bought online from ACTV, Venice Public Transportation Company. Remember to always validate your ticket at the small machines before boarding.
How to see a blown glass demonstration: don’t fall for people asking money to see one, there are plenty of options to experience it for free. I’ve booked my group’s free demonstration by contacting Mr Alvise at his email in this link: https://venicewiki.org/wiki/Prenotare_visita_alla_fornace; he is great and will be able to assist you in English. We’ve seen a “Mastro Vetraio”, Glass Master, make a vase and a horse (amazingly fast), with description in English, at Fornace Gino Mazzuccato, and are very happy we did – adults and children alike where in awe. The demonstration lasts about 20 minutes with English commentary. We have learned that the artisanal process of making the blown glass is very expensive (years of training to become a Master, Italian bureaucracy and taxation system, huge gas bill to fire the kiln – 30,000 Euro a month), so the vast majority of smaller, souvenir-type of Murano glass for sale in Venice is actually mass produced in China. What Murano glass Masters produce are beautiful vases, chandeliers, decorations, bowls, drinking glasses and cups. Therefore, the Mazzuccato factory has a regular shop downstairs and an artistic gallery upstairs with their best work. I highly recommend going upstairs after the demonstration, to admire the beautiful objects of art and to dream about owning some, or perhaps to buy one: we were offered about 40-50% off some pieces as it’s the factory store. The day of our visit, there was also a man standing at the Vaporetto stop advertising free glass demonstration to incoming tourists, so there are other options if you don’t make a specific reservation. I would try to avoid doing it in full summer, though, as the fire generates a lot of heat.
What to see in Murano: we went to see the church of Santa Maria and San Donato, of course, because no Italian town is complete without a visit to an ancient church. This one in particular is very pretty as it has quite a unique Byzantine architectural style and its mosaic floor dates back to the VII century, when it was built.
If you haven’t seen enough glass at the factory’s demonstration, there is the Glass Museum in Palazzo Giustinian; the Palazzo Da Mula, Murano’s town hall, with its gothic architecture (XIII century) is another place of interest. If after visiting this unique island you’re going back to main Venice, you can catch the Vaporetto at “Murano Museo” or “Murano Navagero” stops. If instead you want to go to Burano, you’ll go to the stop “Murano Faro” and catch line 12. Burano is about 30 min. away: there you can admire the brightly colored houses and the ancient craftsmanship of the lace making. Keep in mind that you’ll need about 1,5 hrs to go back to Venice from Burano on the Vaporetto.
If you’d like further information about the Venetian lagoon, leave a comment or contact me directly with your queries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the newest travel tips directly in your inbox!