Murano Glass

“Created among the Venetian alleys and given by the ‘Serenissima’ Republic to the Island of Murano to jealously guard its secrets, Murano glass has always been a world class standard bearer of this product”

IsolaOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Venezia

The first evidence of glassmaking activities in Venice dates back to 982 A.D., but it was in 1200 that the glassworks first became concentrated in Murano, creating refined products that were far removed from the rougher items produced by other European manufacturers. 

Towards the year 1000, under the Venetian Republic, known as la Serenissima, all the kilns in the city of Venice were moved to this small island in the northern part of the lagoon to eliminate the possibility of fires destroying the city, and also to be able to protect the secrets of this process through its isolated geography.

By Alfred EisenstaedtLIFE Photo Collection

The master glassworkers devised new and complex techniques...

...such as filigree, incalmo (the grafting together of two blown glass bubbles) and ice effect. The formulators created chalcedony (variegated glass paste), lattimo (milk glass), aquamarine and ruby red...

By Alfred EisenstaedtLIFE Photo Collection

...while the decorators specialised in painting polychrome glass...

CanneOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Venezia

[Details of polychrome glass]

Industry & Trade Handcrafts Italy (1947) by Alfred EisenstaedtLIFE Photo Collection

...and diamond tip engraving.

MuranoOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Venezia

Thanks to these special procedures, Murano glass reached such a degree of purity that it earned the name of “crystal”, as an analogy with rock crystal.

LavorazioneOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Venezia

The field in which the inventiveness and skill of the glassmakers manifested itself most prominently is that of decorative vases, table sets, decorative objects and, in recent years, sculpture. 

AlzataOriginal Source: Camera di Commercio di Venezia

In our century, in addition to modelling by hand, mass-produced sculptures are now made using hot-glass techniques and new original effects within the thickness of the glass have also been invented.

Le foto più belle del concorso fotografico Obiettivo Venezia, From the collection of: Unioncamere
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On the Island of Murano it is still possible to find practically all the typical processes created and developed here over the course of centuries.

Credits: Story

Curator—Camera di Commercio di Venezia

Credits: All media
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