With its quaint channels, its historic buildings and of course its glass-makers, the island of Murano, located a stone’s throw from Venice, is absolutely worth a visit!
💡 The Captain’s tip 💡
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Brief history of the Island Of Murano
Though it might seem tiny (1.17 square kilometres / 277 acres), Murano is actually one of the largest islands in the Venetian lagoon!
Inhabited since the 7th century, the small island quickly became a prosperous harbour. But it was not until much later, in the 13th century, that the glassmakers who made Murano famous settled on the island. In 1201, the Senate of Venice signed a decree ordering Venetian glassmakers to leave the ‘Serenissima’ (the city of Venice) and settle on the nearby island of Murano. Why? The glassmakers’ ovens caused countless fires threatening the houses and buildings of the city, which were then mainly built of wood. The glassmakers were therefore forced into exile in Murano.
Their reputation shortly spread beyond the island’s borders and Murano glass became all the rage in Europe, including in Versailles.
But Murano is not solely famous for its craftsmanship. Covered with vineyards and gardens, the island was a retreat where Venetian artists and nobles came to enjoy the sweetness of life… not to mention indulge in forbidden pleasures! Murano’s casins – from which the word casino originated – were private clubs were the Venetian nobility met to engage in debauchery. Legend has it that Casanova himself seduced a nun on the island of Murano.
Getting to Murano
Located in the Venetian Lagoon, Murano is just a stone’s thrown from the capital of Veneto.
The island is very easy to reach by vaporetto. If you’re planning on using public transports in Venice, you might want to consider investing in a Public Transport Pass (vaporetto + bus), which is very good value for money.
You can also opt of a day tour to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, which includes the boat ride as well as the services of a tour guide (available in English, German, Italian, Spanish & French). It is the perfect option if you’re interested in learning more about the history of all three islands.
Visiting the best things to do
Today, Murano still counts a hundred glass blowing workshops or so.
A number of these workshops are open to visitors and offer glass blowing demonstrations. The most famous of them is the Vetreria Artistica Colleoni.
👉 You can book the tour online here.
Murano Glass Museum
Housed in the the Gustiniani Palace, the former residence of the bishops of Torcello, the Murano Glass Museum documents the long history of glass blowing, and presents the techniques and know-how passed down from generation to generation over the centuries.
The museum also exhibits 4000 Murano glass articles: chalices, cups, vases, or chandeliers dating back hundreds of years.
👉 Admission to the Murano Glass Museum is included in the Venice Museum Pass.
With its quaint channels and colourful houses, Murano is a great place to wander and relax.
Here, the same goes as in Venice: Captain Ulysses suggests that you simply put away your map/GPS and let yourself get lost in the island’s romantic and charming alleyways (Murano is quite small so you’re not taking any risk!)
Palazzo da Mula
With its typical Gothic architecture, the Palazzo da Mula is one of the most beautiful palaces in Murano.
Today, it has been converted into offices, but the ground floor is reserved for cultural events. St original interior decoration has unfortunately not been preserved which is why Captain Ulysses recommends that you simply admire the palace from the outside.
The churches of Murano
The island of Murano counts three churches which are worth a visit: the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the Basilica of Santi Maria e Donato and the Church San Pietro Martire, whose origins respectively date back to the 12th, 7th 14th centuries.
Located in the southern part of the island, the Lighthouse is a 35 meter (115 ft) high black and white tower
which was built in 1932, and is still in operation today. While it’s not a ‘must-see’, it does deserve a quick detour if you have time.
👉 Skip the lines: book your tickets and visits in Venice!
👉 Looking for tips and recommendations? Here are all of Captain Ulysses’ suggestions!
🛏️ Accommodation: Booking
⛵ Cruises: GetYourGuide
🚌 Local transport: Public Transport Pass