A short distance from Venice, of which it is part, Murano is one of the many centers of the Venetian Lagoon, and is located on seven islands – two of which are artificial – located along the Marani Canal, joined together by bridges. Murano binds its fame to the artisanal production of glass, of which it has become over the centuries one of the most important representatives not only in Italy but also in the world.
Founded by refugees in the period of the barbarian invasions, as happened in the case of Venice, Murano also rises on the islands, and makes its appearance for the first time in a document dating back to 840, from 1171 it became part of the Sestiere of Santa Croce, also enjoying privileges and the possibility of giving yourself laws. In 1295, the government of the city of Venice – essentially for security reasons – decided to transfer the furnaces for the production of glass to Murano, enshrining its future fortune. The famous Venetian glassmakers, therefore, were required to reside in Murano, and they could not leave the city and not thanks to a special permission, but they were allowed to marry the daughters of the families belonging to the nobility. In addition, they could count on a “servent” and a “serventino”, who offered their assistance in the phases of glass manufacture.
The precious world of glass production is, therefore, still today, the main activity of the Muranesi, witnessed by numerous laboratories and workshops shot in the town, where you can discover the techniques of glass blowing. Not surprisingly, the most fascinating street of Murano is the Fondamenta dei Vetrai, along whose route opens most of the shops.
In Murano there is the basilica of Santa Maria e San Donato, one of the oldest in the entire lagoon, with the splendid mosaic of the Madonna orante, as well as the church of San Pietro Martire, dating back to 1348, which preserves two paintings by Giovanni Bellini and one attributed to Tintoretto. Also worth seeing are the remains of the churches of San Maffio and Santo Stefano, while the church of Santa Chiara, founded around 1231, has been converted into a space dedicated to information on artisanal glass processing.
Of course, Murano houses a Glass Museum, set up inside the Palazzo Giustinian, created by Abbot Vincenzo Zanetti. The museum includes over four thousand glass artifacts, starting from objects of Phoenician manufacture, up to mirrors, lenses and, also, a chandelier of the extraordinary weight of three hundred and thirty kilos. Also worth seeing is the Palazzo da Mula, built in Gothic style on the foundations of the Grand Canal of Murano, which today houses the City Hall of Murano, and the Lighthouse of Murano. The building, cylindrical in shape, was built – on a previous medieval wooden structure – to project its light in the direction of the Mouth of Porto del Lido.
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