on October 7, 2008
We took a trip to the neighbouring island of Murano. It is most famous for its glass making factories and tourists stroll along the main canalsides which have glass shops and showrooms.In 1291 Venice's glass furnaces were all moved to this island to protect the city from outbreaks of fire.Glass is still Murano's trade, although it is a tourist attraction and lots of the glass on sale comes from China! It is a good place to buy gifts though and when we went on a Monday morning, the shops were all uncrowded.A lot of the stuff for sale is hideous - the small novelty items, horses and chandeliers were, I thought quite tacky, however if you look around, you can find some minimal and stylish pieces.We were given a "free" boat ride to Murano on check-in at our hotel, but I had read not to do this, so we avoided it. Apparently if you take up this offer, you are expected to buy and pressurised very heavily. We did not fancy experiencing this, so made our own way to the island on the 41 waterbus.We got off at Faro landing stage and actually walked around the island three times before we actually found a working furnace. They are not very clearly signposted. We wanted to see a glass blowing demonstration.We paid 1 Euro each to enter a small factory and 50 cents for our son. A guide gave a very brief overview of the art and we watched a craftsman blow one vase and make a glass horse. It was skillful and interesting, but very speedy. Before we knew it we were bustled quickly into their shop and showroom. We didn't like anything for sale there, but fortunately there was no pressure to buy.We quite enjoyed our trip to the island, but unless you have lots of time and really feel your trip to Venice would be lacking unless you saw some glass blowing, I would give Murano a miss. Perhaps in the past when most of the glass was not imported, it would have been an impressive place to go. Now, although scenic and very pretty, the glass blowing is really a thing of the past.
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