Results 1-10of 19 Reviews
by Joy S
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
October 7, 2008
From journal 3 Nights in Venice
by Barb B
Napa, CA and Hereford, AZ , Arizona
November 17, 2000
We were escorted to a private motorboat and given an engaging ride through narrow canals that we could not have enjoyed on one of the larger "public" boats. On arrival at Murano, our personal guide met and escorted us into the glass blowing shop.
In the year 1291, because of the threat of fires in Venice, all glass factories were moved to this nearby island and now the name Murano has become synonymous with glass blowing. Today, artisans and craftsmen display their imagination and creativity in blown, etched, ornamented and filigreed glass creations produced with centuries-old basic tools.
We were given a personal demonstration of how the glass is colored, melted, heated, blown and shaped and we were welcome to take pictures of the glass making processes. The craftsmen proudly showed us a current project they were working on -- a fabulous set of glasses on order to the Vatican. (You don‘t EVEN want to hear the price!)
Then we were escorted to the gallery told that we would not be allowed to take photos inside the gallery. Seems they have problems with people taking photos and "cheap imitations" being reproduced by unscrupulous vendors around the world.
Glass ladies in pink dresses, ruby red bowls, crystal and gold vases, chandeliers with magnificent blue globes -- SO BEAUTIFULLY -- displayed everywhere! We were allowed to wander through the galleries and then met our guide in a sales room where we were offered coffees, tea, cappuccino or whatever else we might choose.
Since we live in Napa Valley and enjoy our wine, my husband and I selected a classic wine decanter etched with grapes. My sister and her husband chose 2 delicate pink ballerina figurines. We told our guide that we would be in Italy for 3 more weeks and would like our purchases to arrive after our return home.
Sure enough!! The day after we returned home, a package arrived. Securely wrapped to ensure safe arrival, it was our lovely hand blown decanter, signed and dated by the artist. A hand engraved certificate of authenticity was also included.
Just for information: We saw items displayed in many price ranges. Our decanter was about $375 US dollars and my sisters’ figurines were about $350. The price included shipping, US customs costs, taxes and insurance. Truly lovely remembrances and items we will forever enjoy and treasure.
From journal What to do in Venice?
May 22, 2007
From journal Getting lost in Venezia
by Liam Hetherington
Manchester, United Kingdom
February 18, 2007
From journal We Open In Venice...
Prague, Czech Republic
March 9, 2005
From journal Venezia! Not just for Lovers
May 28, 2004
We stopped at Murano to get a quick lunch before proceeding on to Torcello. For this reason, we got off at the second stop. Because of this, we did not meet any 'glass touts' offering free factory tours. Instead, we wandered through this quiet island village, through the courtyard of its church, to a little restaurant near the campanile. Afterwards, we decided to stroll through town.
Many of the glass shops sold the same sorts of things, little glass animals, pens, jewelry. Others sold large artworks, beautiful structures of light and color encapsulated in glass. We stopped briefly in one of the ubiquitous shops to purchase inexpensive souvenirs for our families.
Down the canal, we decided we had time for one more store before boarding the vaporetto. We stopped into a upscale establishment and browsed. In their second showroom, we found enchanting liqueur sets. Soon, a sales clerk came in to talk to us about the glassware. We had no plans to purchase anything. But the more I heard about this traditional art form, the painstaking hand-made details, and the more I looked at these pieces of glass, I definitely wanted to take it home with us. It is not like me to make an extravagant purchase, but I realized that unlike many souvenirs, we would be able to use this set to entertain our friends for years to come, and always remember our trip to Italy.
He told us that he had the best prices for us, and while I didn’t believe it for a second, I did think the price was fair considering the workmanship. We purchased a green liqueur set, painted over in gold with tiny hand-molded flowers. Green, he informed us, was the traditional color. Red and purple, though beautiful, cost 10% more. These pieces represented one of the original designs of Venetian glassware, and these pieces came from one of the old artisan families that had lived on Murano for centuries. The shop offered to ship it to us for 30 Euro, including insurance, and it arrived shortly after we returned. Now we use it all the time!
Back on Venice, we started seeing very similar sets in the shops around San Marco. Curious, we entered one shop and inquired about it. The price was twice as much. We did get the best price! In summary, Murano’s famous glassware is cheaper at the source. Talking to some friends who had also visited Murano, we also determined that we had been quoted better prices than those who had gone on those "free" factory tours.
Cenedese & Gasparini Glass
Fondamente Daniele Manin, 1/A
From journal The Other Side of Venice
London, United Kingdom
March 9, 2004
The name of the island is synonymous with the world famous glass that has been made there since manufacturers were moved from the centre due to fire risks in the late 13th century. As the former hub of an international trading network changed into a major destination, so too the industry has adapted, nowadays providing visitors with instantly recognisable gifts and souvenirs. Whilst it is true that buying the distinctively vibrant and ornate products is easy in the city's inner districts, heading to the source probably yields better prices and selection. Visiting some of the numerous shops and browsing the goods, which vary all the way from cheap and garish to expensive and classy, should be a diverting experience even for those who are not interested in making a purchase, especially as it often possible to see the creation of pieces in progress. One possible way of making the journey out is to take advantage of free boat rides that are offered by many retailers, but going on the vaporetto proved to be a better idea because doing so gave me the time to explore the island at a leisurely pace.
Meanwhile, anyone who wants to view incredibly eye-catching examples of the local craft would be well served by a visit to the Vetrario Museum. It is located in the former palace of a bishop, and exhibits some of the finest pieces ever produced locally, from elaborate baroque and Art Nouveau creations to stunning contemporary works. Although almost everything displayed is magnificent, probably the single most spectacular item is the famous enamelled blue cup that the master artisan Angelo Barovier created several centuries ago.
In addition, there are some other worthwhile things to see that are actually unrelated to the ubiquitous glassware and can make the excursion a fuller experience. For starters, it is possible to wander a short distance off of the beaten track and discover a charming area of pleasant canals and attractive architecture, which is reminiscent of the main part of the city, albeit on a much smaller scale and without the crowds. Of the numerous appealing buildings, the highlight is the Church of Ss Mary and Donato, which really should be the island's primary attraction. It is an excellent 12th-century example of Byzantine architecture that is not only home to some richly colourful floor mosaics and a breathtaking altar painting, but is also a nice sanctuary from both the tourists and pushy salesmen found elsewhere.
From journal Venice - The serene city of canals
July 5, 2001
From journal VENICE: Expensive Enchantment
Des Moines, Iowa, Afghanistan
August 25, 2000
From journal Lost in Venice: Where the heck am I>
May 26, 2004
Also, as a side note, you can get most of the same stuff on the island of Venice at a cheaper price -- you just have to make sure its says "Murano glass" if you want the real thing.
From journal Awesome Venice