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Murano shopping

Page 5 of 11
From: Murano, the Glass Island

Murano glass beads

ABOVE: Bags of glass beads at a shop on Murano.

Buying 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 elsewhere in this article. Some are out of print, but you may be able to find used copies at secondhand booksellers such as Libreria Acqua alta in Venice.

  • Our 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.

More 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, unless you're just looking for a cheap souvenir and don't care about its provenance.

  • 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.

Use only "Bancomats" of legitimate banks (avoid for-profit Euronet ATMs, for example) and don't accept the "conversion" option if it's offered.

Next page: Transportation

In this Murano travel guide:
Murano (introduction)
Glass museums
Glass factories
Sightseeing on Murano
Hotels, B&Bs, apts
Restaurants & cafés
Tourist information
Glass repair & mosaic courses
More Murano photos

Also see:
Venice Islands Tour (by public transportation)

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden has written about Venice, Italy since 1996. He covered Venice and European travel at for 4-1/2 years before launching Europe for Visitors (including Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl Imboden in 2001.

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