Murano, like Venice, is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon. The population is just over 5,000 (2004 figures). The town is very famous for its glass production. The climate of Murano is classified as Humid Subtropical climate with cool winters and very warm summers.
Skip the Touts who ply Piazza San Marco offering free (one-way only) boat trips to Murano and glass-factory tours. While you are unlikely to find fakes here, you will be herded into the showroom and given high-pressure sales tactics after a brief demonstration.
Pay Attention to the details, which reveal the skill of the maker. As with all handmade products, expect variations, but sets should be evenly matched. Examine color, clarity, and polish. For blown-glass items such as goblets and perfume bottles, check that the glass is of even thickness, that rounded shapes and flaring edges are symmetrical, and that stems are straight. Look at the bottom to see if it's been ground flat or has rough edges. For jewelry, check that beads are smooth, with even patterns, and free of cracks. Don't be afraid to touch items – carefully – or ask assistance from the salespeople.
Demand authentication. The Promovetro trademark is a good place to start, and you'll find the insignia on the shop windows as well as the glass products themselves. For larger pieces, ask for a certificate of authenticity. And beware of Murano-style glass, which is not made on the island at all.
ACTV , Venice's transit company, runs the water buses, "vaporetti", from Venice to Murano at frequent intervals and at many stops.
WALK! - walking along the many canals is part of the experience of Murano. The island is only about 1 mile across so it is small enough to explore by foot.
The Grand Canal, "Canale Grande", splits the island into two. Walking around the island will help you discover the beautiful colors, little shops and restaurants.
Basilica dei Santa Maria e San Donato - known for its twelfth century Byzantine mosaic pavement, which is a similiar floor to Venice's Basilica di San Marco, and the mosaic dome in the apse of the Virgin Mary. It is said to house the bones of the dragon slain by Saint Donatus. The bell tower, like most bell towers, is separate from the Church.
Chiesa di San Pietro Martire - Church of Saint Peter the Martyr. Built in the 15th century and then reconstructed some years later after a fire. Inside are some art works, such as two canvasses by Bellini.
Campo Santo Stefano - notable for its 19th Century clock tower. One of the most visited spots.
Palazzo Da Mula - The summer residence of the Venetian patricians. The facade features large Gothic windows and Veneto-Byzantine patere and panels from the 12th and 13th centuries. It is one of the few palazzi which escaped the restructuration of the island in the 1800s.
Glass-related attractions include the many glassworks, some Mediaeval and most open to the public, and the Glass Museum, housed in the large Palazzo Giustinian near the island's center. "Museo Vetrario" in Italian, offers a century-by-century tour of Venetian glassmaking.
Glass Factories - "fornaci". The best glass blowing factories are not open to tourists, but there are some factories that give demonstrations. Interesting to see if you have never seen a glass furnace.
If you're staying on Murano overnight, ask your hotel receptionist which of the island's restaurants is open in the evening. Most tourists are day-trippers, so Murano's restaurants take turns staying open for dinner.
Trattoria Busa alla Torre Da Lele (Masiol Gabriele), 041/739662, Campo San Stefano 3, opposite of San Pietro Martire, A typical trattoria, frequented by both tourists and locals. Excellent food.
Ai Bisatei - Campo San Bernardo, 1 - Murano. Phone: +39 041 739 528. Not an easy osteria to find but it is truly worth the detour: kindness, cuisine and extremely reasonable prices. An essential stop if you go on the island of Murano. You will love the utterly “local” atmosphere.
Al Soffiador - Viale Bressagio 10-11 - 30141 Murano (Venice). Prices from € 80 (Tax included) ($106.70 USD). Check in starts at 10:30 am and ends at 7 pm or needs to be informed that you will be arriving later. Check out is at 11 am. Breakfast is included. On the hotel premises is a restaurant. There are two buildings connected by a garden terrace. Each room has its own bathroom. 2 rooms are equipped to host disabled guests.
Hotel Locanda Conterie - Calle Conterie 21 - Murano - 30141 Murano (Venice). Prices from € 64 (Tax included) ($85.40 USD). Check in available after 11 am and late arrivals must be advised. Check out is at 10 am. The hotel lies within metres of the Museo Vetrario and the Basilica dei SS. Maria e Donato. All rooms have a private bathroom.
Murano is known for its glass worldwide. Besides that, there is not much else you need to buy besides the normal tourist objects, such as postcards and other souvenirs.
Many souvenir shops try to pass off cheap Chinese counterfeit glass as real Murano glass.
The Venice government protects Murano glassmaking. Look for the "Vetro Murano Artistico" trademark decal in the windows of shops and showrooms that sell authentic Murano glass.
Venice is your hub on the way out to the mainland. Just hop on the waterbus, "vaporetto", to get back to Venice.
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Burmesedays, Sarah Ciambrano, Justine Cogan, cz, Jesse Miers, Philippe Malarme, Todd VerBeek, Srijith and Tom Holland, Fful and Inas
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