1. Murano is Venice.
By the 7th century, Murano was a known commercial port. By the 10th century, Venice had become famous for its glassmakers. In 1291, due to the risk of fires glassmakers moved their foundries to Murano because most of the buildings in Venice were wooden.
2. The Sopranos’ Dr. Melfi swears by it.
3. Making Murano glass is a very complex process.
The glass is made from silica, which turns into liquid at high temperatures. There is a brief interval when the glass is soft before it hardens completely, which is when it’s shaped into the most complex figures you can imagine.
Get up to speed with your Murano artisans’ vocab: borselle = tongs used to hand-form the red-hot glass; canna da soffio = blowing pipe; pontello = an iron rod used for final touch-ups; scagno = a work bench; and tagianti = glass-cutting clippers.
4. Murano is all about flowers.
The Millefiori technique is known for its distinctive decorative floral patterns of Venetian glassware. “Mille” (thousand) + “fiori” (flowers) = lots of happiness.
5. Murano lets you look through the looking-glass.
7. Murano made Chihuly.
Chihuly Over Venice was a legacy-setting project for the American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. He studied glassblowing on the Murano island in the late 70’s and returned to his beloved Venice with a gift of a tour de force performance in the 90’s.
8. Murano is poetic.
From Mark Doty’s poem “Murano”:
“Not on of those foggy
Venetian glasses; their mineral opacity
gives back, mostly, themselves—cloudy,
unlikely as their source. Is glass
this town’s metaphor for itself?
Hallucinatory, fragile, dangerous:
distorting sulphurs and hazes,
dissolving palaces, molten appearances
on unstable ground.”
9. Murano is a birthright.
The international bestselling novel The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato tells the story of Leonora Manin who leaves London to take a job as a glassblower on Murano, her birthright. Leonora is a descendant of Corradino Manin, a fictional hero from 17th century Venice who sells his secrets to Louis XIV of France to save his daughter. Glassblowing was the lifeblood of the Venetian Republic, and if you’re a glassblower through birth that’s what you’ll do.
10. Murano’s got a big heart of glass.
Here’s what Marina Fiorato says about a piece of heart-shaped Murano jewelry, “For when she holds the glass heart in her hand she holds my own heart there too.”
11. Murano’s resilience is unbreakable.
In the 17th century, Venitian architect Josef Bellotti built a palace in Warsaw, Poland. Named after Bellotti’s homeland, the Polish capital’s neighborhood of Muranów is one of the most unique places in the world today because it is located—intentionally—on the rubble of the Warsaw Ghetto, which was completely destroyed after the 1943 uprising, becoming a symbol of the indomitableness of the human spirit.
12. Murano brings people together.
The island of Murano is an extraordinary place that linked up Europe and the Byzantine and Islamic worlds in the Middle Ages. It brought cultures together and melted them—in a glass pot.
13. Murano takes New York!
Since 2005, Murano Artisans have been offering New Yorkers and city guests hundreds of jewelry items to choose from at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. Come get your own special piece of Murano history this winter.