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March 12, 2024

Exclusive Access: Glassblowing & Incredible Luxury Shopping in Murano, Italy

Murano glass

Synonymous with exquisite glass craftsmanship since the 13th century, the island of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon in Italy is one of our favorite private day excursions from Venice. Located 20 minutes by private boat across the lagoon from St. Mark’s Square, Murano is renowned for its rich artistic heritage steeped in centuries of tradition.

Artisans of Leisure arranges private, exclusive excursions to Murano by luxury boat. We arrange behind-the-scenes access to prestigious glass studios as part of our private Venice tours. Visting Murano is a must for glass collectors, enthusiasts and anyone interested in traditional crafts and history.

The prominence of Murano glass dates to 1291 when the glass industry relocated to the island from Venice as a fire precaution and to protect lucrative trade secrets when Venetian glass was growing in international acclaim.

Murano glass

Sequestered on Murano, glassblowers were rewarded with wealth and status but subjected to tight security measures that included the death penalty for leaving without permission or selling industry knowledge. Murano glassblowers typically passed down secret techniques through generations, establishing closely guarded glass-making dynasties on the island (some of the families continue the tradition today). 

As a result of the isolation and concentration of the industry on Murano, Venetian glassmakers flourished in creativity and developed innovative glassmaking techniques, such as the groundbreaking cristallo glass of the 15th century. The first transparent, colorless glass ever produced, cristallo secured Venetian dominance of the European glass industry for centuries.

With the superior quality of the glass and the Venetian Republic’s control of trade routes between Europe and Asia, Murano mirrors, chandeliers and glassware became a coveted luxury item, renowned throughout Europe and the wider Mediterranean.

Today, distinctive features of high-quality Murano glass include its transparent luminosity, vivid colors and intricate designs. Master glassblowers employ a variety of centuries-old techniques to meticulously handcraft glassworks, including blowing, molding, etching, hand painting and enameling.

Specialist studios on Murano continue to produce elaborate chandeliers with gold leaf, intricate millefiore vases, ornate mirrors and brilliantly colored jewelry that are valuable collector’s items. 

We recommend having us arrange a private excursion to Murano for an exclusive visit to a prestigious glass factory. 

Meeting master artisans for a glassblowing demonstration is an incredible way to learn about the rich history and exquisite artistry of Murano glass. 

Many of our travelers enjoy trying out glassblowing themselves, which is harder than it looks.

We also arrange exclusive shopping in showrooms that are not open to the general public and private appointments at the most historic and renowned glass companies, in operation on Murano for hundreds of years.

While in Murano, we always enjoy taking time to explore its quiet backstreets for a glimpse of daily life on the island.

A private excursion to Murano combines well with other islands in the Venetian Lagoon, such as visiting lacemakers on Burano, seeing the glittering Byzantine mosaics on Torcello and enjoying Dorona wine tasting on Mazzorbo.

Contact Artisans of Leisure to begin planning a luxury Italy tour that includes the most interesting touring in Venice and a private excursion to the glass island of Murano.

Destinations:  Europe, Italy

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