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Beyond Toscano

The secrets of Murano glass

The secrets of Murano glass
Glass may be transparent, but many of the techniques glassmakers use to create decorative glass objects are a closely-guarded secret. And few places hold more secrets that the island of Murano in Venice.
Just 1.5km wide, Murano is a small island and yet it has left a large legacy. It’s virtually the home of modern glass-making, with resident artisans perfecting their skills and craft over the years and handing their knowledge down through generations, going all the way back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance era.

Whether a vase, bowl, pendant, sculpture or chandelier, it takes great skill to create decorative glass. Murano craftsman make almost every piece by hand, and mouth, blowing the glass into the desired shape and ensuring the color and elaborate decorative patterns embedded in the glass are the perfect pigmentation. Most genuine Murano glass comes with a certificate of authenticity and official sticker, so you know it truly comes from the island.

The glassmakers were very valuable to the Venetian economy, so much so that in 1291 the Venetian Republic forced all of them to move to Murano with their families, where they were forbidden to leave for many years. The tradition of glassblowing on Murano lives on today, with no less than 70 active furnaces remaining on the island– and more than a few family secrets…