Revered worldwide, Murano glassware is created only in the Venetian isle of Murano by experienced artisans steeped in the centuries old traditions of the finest glass making. Murano, known as the glass island, dates back to the thirteenth century as the center for the creation of Venetian glass and houses the Museo del Vetro which pays homage to the history of glass. Masterful techniques were honed to perfection by the craftsmen of Murano and even today glass ateliers there have an esteemed international reputation with individual names such as Salviato, Berengo Studio, Venini, Pino Signoretto and FerroMerano standing out as worthy of attention.
Modern artisans follow in the footsteps of ancient glass makers, creating remarkable hand blown glass pieces that run the gamut from ornamental pieces and sculptures through drinking goblets, chandeliers, jewelry and perfume bottles. If you are lucky enough to visit Venice you may purchase a piece of Murano glass directly from one of the glass factories or galleries located in the area of Fondamenta dei Vetrai. The Mazzega factory and the Linea Murano Art Gallery are just two of the many sites offering visitors the chance to see demonstrations of glass making in addition to making authentic purchases.
If you are buying outside the Italian locale you will want to ensure the piece you are purchasing is indeed authentic rather than Murano style and the best way to ensure this is to look for the certificate of Vetro Artistico Murano with its distinctive blue and red markings. Even in Murano you should take care to ensure a certificate of authenticity is offered as counterfeit glass may be sold in souvenir shops. The Murano trademark limits the production of Murano glasswork to the Venetian isle in a more modern way than in centuries past. When Murano first emerged as the leading center of glasswork its skilled artisans were prevented from leaving and spilling their trade secrets.
In 1295 a law was passed preventing glass makers from leaving the city, though certain societal privileges were bestowed upon them in recompense. The isolation of the glassmakers paid a significant part in the successful growth of the Murano glass industry and ensured a Venetian glass monopoly of manufacturing excellence.
The fortunes of Murano have ebbed and flowed through the years but modern Murano artists have revived the art of glassware by reverting to traditional techniques such as murrino, filigree and lattimo, while incorporating modern innovative styles with artistic appeal. Their enthusiasm for the craft combined with their creation of beautiful objects has ensured the international reputation of Murano glassware remains exalted.