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Murano Glass Factories

From: Murano, the Glass Island

Murano glass furnace

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 waste glass.

Public factory visits

Murano glass showroomsThe 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:

glass factory tour signFrom 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 mid-afternoon).

  • 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. (We'd recommend getting to Murano by public transportation, which is quick, easy, and pressure-free.)

  • Murano waste glass for recyclingIf 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.)

Next page: Churches, other sights

In this article:
Murano - Introduction
Glass museums
Glass factories - public visits
Churches, other sights
Shopping on Murano
Getting to Murano
Murano hotels, restaurants
Tourist information, books
Murano glass repairs
More Murano pictures
Murano map, satellite photo

On our main Venice for Visitors site:
Aerial Venice: Murano
Venice Islands Tour (by public transportation)

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Top photo copyright © Richard Goerg.
Bottom inset photo © Nickos.