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Murano Shopping

From: Murano, the Glass Island

Murano glass beads

ABOVE: Bags of glass beads at the L.A.V. Cooperativa Vetraria.

Shopping for Murano glass

photoGlass is why most people come to Murano, and there's no shortage of retail outlets (including factory showrooms) on the island.

If you're a casual buyer, you won't need a shopping guide: Just look in display windows, browse in shops that look interesting, and buy whatever strikes your fancy.

If you're serious about Venetian and Murano glass, we'd strongly recommend buying one or more of the books reviewed on page 8 of this article:

  • glass mosaic store signOur favorite guidebook, Michela and Nicoló Scibilia's Comprehensive Guide to the Island of Murano, has an entire chapter devoted to glass factories, ateliers, and showrooms that specialize in products ranging from traditional chandeliers and mirrors to modern art glass, and from various styles of beads to stained glass, murrines, and mosaics.

  • Gianfranco Tosa's Murano: A History of Glass, provides a detailed overview of and Venetian and Muranese glassmaking techniques from the 10th through the 20th Centuries.

  • Carl I. Gable's Murano Magic is another useful resource for glass collectors.

Other tips:

  • Not all "Murano glass" is from Murano. Some dealers--especially souvenir shops--try to pass off cheap Chinese counterfeits as the real thing. Look for the "Vetro Murano Artistico" trademark decal in the windows of shops and showrooms that sell authentic Murano glass.

  • Cooperativa VetrariaFinished products aren't the only items to buy on Murano: You can purchase glass beads in bulk and use them to make your own jewelry. L.A.V. Cooperativa Vetraria has a good selection of loose beads in its display window. (See photo at right and at the top of the page.)

  • If you run out of time while shopping on Murano, don't panic: Venice has innumerable shops and galleries that sell authentic Murano glass, jewelry made from Murano beads, etc.

  • Caveat emptor: Glass shops in Murano and Venice can ship products to your home, but if the glassware arrives broken, filing a claim or getting a replacement can be a nuisance. (Consider yourself forewarned.)

Other types of shops

Unless you're shopping for glass, there isn't much reason to shop on Murano, with these few exceptions:

  • A handful of tourist shops and newsstands sell guidebooks, postcards, camera supplies, and souvenirs.

  • The InCoop supermarket and shopping center on the Fondamenta dei Vertrai, just north of the Colonna waterbus stop, is a convenient place to buy groceries, drinks, and other necessities.

  • Two pharmacies can supply remedies for headaches, blisters, etc.

  • On certain days of the week, you'll see produce barges scattered along Murano's canals. If you have a craving for fresh lettuce or artichokes, head for the nearest floating vegetable stand.

Many shops and showrooms close for lunch at 12:30 or 1 p.m. and don't reopen until anywhere from 2 to 3:45 p.m. Weekend hours vary: Tourist-oriented shops are likely to be open on Saturdays and Sundays, while showrooms and galleries that cater primarily to the trade may be open only from Monday to Friday.

Banks and money

Murano has several bank branches and cash machines where you can obtain euros with your ATM card.

Next page: Getting to Murano


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Top inset photo copyright © José Maria Santiso Fernández.

 


Copyright © 1996-2014 Durant Imboden and Cheryl Imboden. All rights reserved.