The Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro) on the island of Murano in Venice has the largest collection of glass objects in the city. The collection includes historical objects from a period between the 14th and 21st centuries, but there is also an archaeological section.
Murano Glass Museum Venice
Address, opening times and entrance fee
Address: Fondamenta Marco Giustinian, 8, 30141 – Isola di Murano, Venezia (tel. 848082000 or +39 041 42730892). Official site: museovetro.visitmuve.it. Opening hours: From November 1 to March 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; from April 1 to October 31, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed: December 25, January 1, May 1. Public transportation: Lines 4.1, 4.2 (Museo Murano stop). Entrance fee: Combi-ticket Museo del Vetro + Museo del Merletto 12 Euro; children 6-14 years old, students 15-29 years old: 8 Euro; children 0-5, residents in Venice: Free. Disabled: Accessible (10 Euro; discount 7.50 Euro).
History and description
The exhibits are arranged chronologically. The oldest section showcases Roman finds, dating back from the 1st to the 4th century. This is followed by a journey through 17 centuries of history of Venetian glassmaking, with an insight into the techniques and tools used over the centuries.
The Murano Glass Museum was founded in 1861. The building itself is called Palazzo Giustinian and already existed in the 17th century.
Although glass was invented more than four thousand years ago, the glass blowing technique, which originates in Palestine, dates back to the first century BC. It was then further perfected in Roman times, especially in Syria, Palestine and around the Mediterranean.
The oldest Murano artefacts on display in the museum date back to the 10th and 11th centuries and were found below the Santi Maria and Donato Basilica.
Murano did not become a leading producer of glass until the 15th century, when Angelo Barovier (1405-1460) invented transparent glass. In the following centuries ever more new techniques, such as iced glass, were invented on the island.
With the invention of these techniques, the artistry of the creators developed and the Murano glass blowers started specializing in decorative glass.
Toward the end of the 17th century Murano entered a difficult period. During this period of financial crisis many glass makers emigrated. At the same time Bohemia became a leading producer of glass.
Giuseppe Briati (1686-1772) changed the negative trend, by adopting the Bohemian techniques of glass blowing, inventing the chandeliers with lavishly decorated, multiple arms and opening a factory in Venice itself.
The 19th century saw a comeback of various techniques that had been forgotten or fallen into disuse. The most famous factories were the Toso Brothers and the Salviati ones, the latter mainly exporting their works to Great Britian.
The biggest innovation of the 20th century was that the most famous factories appointed special designers.