Murano Glass Factories
Murano, the Glass Island
ABOVE: V.I.A.'s glass furnace on Murano. INSET
BELOW: A factory showroom, the V.I.A. factory entrance, and a barge filled with
Public factory visits
most interesting glass factories and ateliers on Murano aren't open to visitors,
for two reasons:
They're in the business of making glass, not entertaining tourists;
Master glass artisans have spent years refining their proprietary
techniques and don't want competitors taking notes.
Still, as you walk around Murano, you're likely to find mass-market fornaci
or furnaces that welcome tourists. The V.I.A. factory is a good example:
the Colonna waterbus stop, turn left as you exit the boat platform and walk
along the water until you reach a "Fornace Glass" sign on a door below the
Calle S. Cipriano street sign. Pass beneath the "Fornace - Entrata
Libera" entrance sign, follow the sidewalk, and enter the factory to
view a free glassmaking demonstration. (Afterwards, you'll exit through the
showroom.) The demonstration takes less than 10 minutes, but it's
interesting if you haven't seen a glass furnace.
Tips for visiting:
Look for open factories on weekday mornings. Don't count on much action
during the lunch hour (which can run from noon or 1 p.m. until
In Venice, you're likely to be approached by representatives of touristy
factory showrooms that offer free boat trips to Murano. If you accept, be
prepared for a high-pressure sales pitch. (I'd recommend getting to Murano
public transportation, which is
quick, easy, and pressure-free.)
you're a serious glass collector or buyer, you may be able to visit some of
the more artistic fornaci by appointment. we'd suggest making arrangements
through a gallery, dealer, or decorator who has contacts in Murano. To phone
or correspond with workshops directly, buy Michela and Nicoló Scibilia's
Comprehensive Guide to the Island of Murano (see page 8 of this
article) and use the listings in its "Production" chapter as a starting
point for your planning.
Glass factories are normally closed during August, though a few
tourist-oriented demonstration furnaces may stay open. (Check with the
Venice tourist office during your visit.)
Churches, other sights
Top photo copyright © Richard Goerg.
Bottom inset photo © Nickos.