Murano Island, Venice
If you intend to buy fabulous Murano glassware, you should go directly to the island and look, instead of being taken in in a shop around the neuralgic and touristy spots in San Marco. These might sell you Chinese crap for Made in Murano. Now Venezia does a lot to demolish the dealers that dare to do this and destroy the reputation (see what I wrote in the tourist trap section). But to make sure to buy genuine work, it is better to buy directly from the manufacturers. The real work has a logo Vetro Artistico Murano (check the website given below) and is not cheap of course.
In addition, I highly recommend to visit Murano’s glass museum Museo del Vetro, as here you can learn about the process of glass making and appreciate the work behind the finished products (and understand why they are not that cheap as the Chinese crap). Entrance fee is 5,50 € in case you don’t have the Venice Card Orange (in which it is included).
But the very best is a tour through one of the glass factories. You simply go into a shop and ask for the factory. All of them are prepared to let you see the maestros at work. Don’t forget to leave a small donation for the guys in the box. I am not sure if their wages are really calculated based upon how much their work is finally sold for.
There is no real need to follow the touts that want to sell you a trip to the island and a factory tour. Vaporettos leave every 15 minutes from Fondamenta Nuove; take the circle line 41/42, which also stops at La Zaccaria, in case you stay in sestiere San Marco.
In 1291 all of the glassmakers that previously worked in Venice were moved to the island of Murano as the glassworks created a potential fire hazard in Venice as the buildings there were mostly wooden at the time. Murano is now famous for it's glassware and there are many shops on the island where you can buy glass from. You can also see glassworks being made in the factories there.
This photo shows the main street in Murano with the medieval campanile in the background.
Murano consists of 5 small islands and is situated in the lagoon of Venice. It is home to 7.000 people and famous for its glassware all over the world.
The melting furnaces for the glass were moved in the 13th century from Venice to Murano because of the fire risk.
Among the many little shops with glassware, some old historic buildings like the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato are worth seeing.
Hmm , Venice has become one big souvenir
shop I'm afraid. Not a very attractive one either.
If you've spend a couple of houres here
you will see enough masks and Murano-glass
to last a lifetime.
Still , I loved seeing this lady at work.
It was not far from the station when we saw
her little shop...
I don't like colorfull glass , but I spotted a
black and white key chain in the window.
12 euro , quit expensive...but it had something
extra because we saw her making stuff.
Interesting , because I couldn't imagine
how easy it is to melt glass and to make it
into something nice.
The miniatures we saw all over town are
amazing. Little orchestra's , giraffes...
Go and have a look ,
I think you will enjoy it.
SAN POLO VERTO
lavorazione artiganale vetro di murano
SAN POLO 2309
SAN AGOSTIN - VENEZIA
0039 - 041 71 46 88
Like Venice, Murano is made up of smaller islands connected by bridges. It is known all over the world for its glasswork. The glasswork manufacturing started in the 12th century and in the 15th and 16th centuries Murano was the main glass producer in Europe. This craft continues today and the main attraction of Murano is to watch the glass artisans at work. Many small factories line the Fondamenta dei Vetrai, the street that starts at the Colonna landing stage. We went there on a Saturday and found out that many factories are closed over the weekend. Still we managed to find one that was open and witnessed the glass blowing of a horse. All these factories have a showroom where they sell glass (no obligation to buy, of course). There is also a Glass Museum (Museo Vetraio) that one can visit.
Murano can be reached by vaporetto.
Murano is one of the islands in the Venetian lagoon and where the Venetians many centuries ago established their industrial sites for glass production and built their summer houses. Venetian glass is world famous and we were lucky to go on a tour and see a master glassblower demonstrate his craft the traditional way, the only exception being the glass furnace is now gas powered. The demonstration took about 20 minutes and produced a delicate horse which was given to a 9 year old Canadian boy in our group.
We were taken to the Showroom where we were given the opportunity to purchase items at reduced prices. Looking at the glass on display I thought the glass would be very expensive, much of it is with small chandliers costing from $30,000 upwards, but there are many nice items from $20 upwards. The Golden Coffee Set shown in the photo was on special for less than $400, it appears it is extremely hard to get gold into the glass, but Murano perfected a method many years ago.
Visit one of the glass factories and watch a glass blowing demonstration it's fascinating. We watched a man make this prancing horse and it took him no more than a few minutes. It would have been great to be able to buy it on the day but the glass is such a temperature that the glass blower said it wouldn't be cool properly until the next day. He laid a piece of newspaper over it and it burst into flames instantly.
Don't go on a trip to the glass factories organised for free by many hotels. You will be under immense pressure to buy something then and there and the glass is understandably expensive.
You are far better off to go under your own steam and purchase something smaller/cheaper if you want to at any of the shops as there are loads on the Murano. I particularly like the little glass cats with the tiny glass goldfish inside their belly!
Also, beware of buying glass on Venice Island itself. I'm told that although they might tell you it is Murano glass, chances are if it's very cheap it will have been made elsewhere.
Make a day trip to the islands in the Laguna Nord: Murano, Burano, Torcello, etc.
It's wise to buy a 24-hour vaporetto ticket. The price (Oct. 2003) is 10 euro and it's valid on the Laguna Nord AND Canal Grande.
Murano is known for its Venetian glass - more information can be found on my MURANO page.
Murano is aptly called "The Glass Island" because of it's crafts men who produce magnificient gass works. Till tenth centuary Murano was a trading centre and a major port. In 1291 all glass foundries in Venice were moved to Murano as a prventive measure to save Venice from a probable fire risk. Since then crafts men developed very refined technologies such as crystalline glass, enameld glass,milk glass, golden thread glass etc. Their artistic skills are still alive.
Tourists can watch the glass blowers offering live demonstration of their magnificient skill at VIA Fornace. The art works are very expensive, but they are worth the money you pay.
Tourists can reach Murano island from Venice by a "Water Bus"(Boat).
A MUST SEE PLACE.
Venice is practically a patchwork of tiny islands isolated in a sea of canals, but it also has a number of actual islands dotted around outside the main city. I visited three: San Giorgio Maggiore, Lido and Murano.
The Isola San Giorgio Maggiore is a tiny island that sits opposite the Piazza San Marco and offers great views of the Clock Tower and Doge's Palace. If you want to get a good night shot on solid ground, then take the short taxi trip across the water to the SGM. The island boasts its own special history, and its own grand architecture, in the form of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. This church with its spire so similar to the clock tower in the Piazza has existed on the island since the 9th century.
Lido is the biggest of the islands, and is located a good 30 minutes or so away from the Piazza San Marco. It is a long strip of land that acts as a break against the Adriatic, and has some of the best beaches in the area. It's so big it even has roads, cars and buses, that do little more than circle its 11 km length. Apart from the beaches the island also offers grand views of all of Venice, with the Alps visible behind on clear days, across the Laguna Veneta.
Murano is an island on the north side Venice, that can be accessed by a water taxi that sails via the cemetery island, so be careful not to get off too early. Murano is famous for its glass, and has a museum dedicated to its history. I personally found the museum to be a little small and uninteresting, and wouldn't recommend it unless you have very little to do, or have a great interest in glass blowing techniques.
The island is pleasant enough to wander around, and the lack of crowds makes for a pleasant change from the main canals of Venice.
Murano is usually described as an island in the Venetian Lagoon, although like Venice itself it is actually an archipelago of islands linked by bridges. It lies about a mile north of Venice and is famous for its glass making, particularly lampworking.
However we didn't particularly think this was a 'must see' place, glass works are something we have often seen in India, so this was a little disappointing! Als there are really very few places to grab a bite or have a coffee that was worth the money.
this is part of a forum reply to a solo female traveller
I travel at least once a year to Venice by myself, and find it's a great place for a solo female to visit. I feel quite safe, even wandering around in the early hours of the morning.
Booking accommodation - I tend to use Venere, Booking.com and Hostel bookers. You can check out accommodation in your price range, read reviews from people who've stayed there etc.
With Venere, you can click on a map of Venice, to chose hotels/ B&B's/ Guest Houses/ Town Houses/ Self catering etc. Also, there is no booking fee or deposit - you pay on arrival or departure.
There are a few hostels including the Youth Hostel on Giudecca Tel.0415238211, but you are advised to book early for July/ August.
Getting around - I tend to buy an ACTV travel card for the vaporetto for 72 hours unlimited travel, when I'm staying 3 days or more. This costs 30 euros. This ticket can also be used on the ACTV bus from the airport to Piazzale Roma and to Mestre also.(a card for 90 minutes is 6 euro and 15 euros for 24 hours).
Although I walk around a lot in Venice,I like knowing that I can just jump on a vaporetto, if the whim takes me. They run day and night, so I quite enjoy a trip up and down the Grand Canal late at night, or out into the lagoon.
If you plan visiting any of the islands, I'd suggest purchasing a 24 hour ticket at least, possibly around late morning/ early afternoon from the kiosk at Fondamente Nuova. Catch the LN (Laguna Nord) vaporetto from here to Torcello(about 50 minutes)and then Burano (or vise-versa) on your return, you could stop off at Murano, OR next morning you could nip across to Murano (10 minutes away) or San Michelle (5 minutes), returning before your ticket expires.
I'd also recommend catching the number 2 vaporetto from San Zaccaria to San Giorgio Maggiore. Here, you can climb the campanile for 3 euros, (it's half the price of the one in San Marco, there will be a smaller queue(if any) for the lift, and you get a panoramic view of Venice and beyond - you also have a church to look around)
If you expect to be looking around lots of churches, The Chorus ticket gives admission to 16 churches in Venice (9 euros for individuals, 6 for students, 18 for a family) and is valid for 1 year. Without the Chorus card, it costs 3 euros to visit each church. When I've visited at Christmas, often entrance is free. (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari - The Frari holds a free concert every 26th December too).
There are many churches not in the Chorus scheme, that you can visit for free.
I found this article that offers an interesting way to see Venice using the Chorus Card http://www.tripso.com/traveler/venices-chorus-pass-%E2%80%94-a-path-to-revelation/
Another discount scheme is the Venice Card,There are 2 types that give discounts for transport, museums, Chorus Card etc. I've not used this card, so I can't really comment on how useful it is. The few reviews I've seen have been quite negative.
There are quite a few guided walking tours, varying in price and content. Some are held at night.
Some of these also include a gondola ride in the ticket price. For a person travelling by themselves it is often very expensive to ride in a gondola (ok it's very expensive for everyone!!) so this might be a way.
I've not been in a gondola, but I've travelled by traghetti a few times - a fun experience, and cheap.
I've seen guided evening walks that visit Osteries to sample local cuisine and wine, which I've liked the sound of- For a solo traveller, it's sometimes difficult to go into a bar by yourself, or for some people to enter busy establishments full of locals, feeling they might not be welcome.
One of my favourite Osterias (or is it a bacaro?) is Al Bottegon(Cantinone Gia Schiavo, which is on Fondamente Nani, opposite Chiesa San Trovaso and the Squero di San Trovasa (gondola boatyard) in Dorsoduro.
This is just some general information for planning your trip, If you visit my Venice page I've planned a walk around Venice that takes in the major sites, and some lesser known places, that might be helpful.
Most of the glass workshops were moved to the island of Murano in 1291, to reduce the risk of fire in the city itself. A visit to the island today offers the chance to see master glassblowers at work as well as to browse store after store of glass items. The trip by water bus at Murano takes 10' from Fondamente Nuove or 45' from the San Zaccaria stop near St. Mark's Square.
If you are interested in buying Murano glass, then the island is the best place to do so.
Give it a try if you have some free time. You'll enjoy the trip itself if the weather is nice.
My first visit to Venice at Christmas 2006, I arrived at my hotel as the market closed.
2007 I'd intended getting there, earlier than I did, but due to getting lost trying to find my hotel, I just arrived as most of the stalls had closed. This was an improvement on the previous year!- and I still managed to buy a cup of Vin Brule (mulled wine/ gluewein etc)
2008 -at last - I was there in plenty of time! This was the 10th Anniversary of this Christmas Market.
First thing to do-Buy a Vin Brule- I bought this from the same stall as the previous year -1.50 Euros, later I purchased a pastry filled with confectioners custard from a stall specialising in Sicillian produce. It was tempting to go mad and buy lots of goodies- Olives, dried fruit, nuts, cheeses, sausages, biscuits, wines, beers etc, from different areas of Italy- but I restrained myself- The goods although of high quality were quite expensive - and this year 1 Euro virtually equalled £1, so I was even more aware of prices and value for money!
Wooden huts housed craft stalls. Again, I just browsed. There were some items at 'pocket money prices' such as some cut out wooden christmas tree decorations, that would have been light and easy to pack as presents. Other stalls sold jewellery, paintings, pottery, Murano glasswork (genuine and certified) etc.
So, I'd seen the Christmas Market - Will I go there next year? Probably not - It was nice to see it with all the stalls open, but unless I was shopping for a certain food item or present, I'd probablyspend my time seeing something else. ( I much preferred Manchesters Christmas Market and its atmosphere)
This annual market, known as 'Natale in Laguna' is held from December 1st to Dec 23rd each year 1030 - 1930 daily.
Stallholders are vetted by the Craftsman's and Tradesman's Association to ensure goods are of a high quality. There are also Christmas markets in Mestre and Murano.
Throughout the Veneto region, there is a programme of events from November 17th to Jan 6th, (when Italian children receive their gifts from Befania, the witch). I picked up a booklet 'Winter in Venice' or 'Inverno Veneziano', from the tourist info desk at the airport, listing the concerts, chocolate tastings, markets, etc. www.turismovenezia.it for more info.
Murano also had large glass decorations at various sites on the island - check my Murano page for some photos of these.
After visiting the market, I went into the church of Santo Stefano - Well worth seeing for its architecture and paintings - Please see my next tip.
I am sure Murano too is worth a stop but we never had time for more islands and as my family comes from the Swedish county known as the Kingdom of Glass, I have seen glass making plenty of times before even though it is not of the famous Murano type. Moreover, the prospect of a six-year-old amongst all that glass worried us so Murano has to wait.