Murano Glass

An Art Form for the Ages

From the peaceful countryside to the cobbled city lanes, Italy is a vibrant country brimming with color, beauty, and expression.

Whether it be the exceptional cuisine, the rich traditions, or the breathtaking historical art, the creative spirit of Italy knows no bounds. A shining example of this artistic spirit is the island of Murano, nestled in the lagoon of Venice. A hidden gem, the small island of Murano allows visitors to travel through time, exploring the art of glassmaking that has flourished there for more than 1,000 years. Come with us, dear reader, to explore the glasswork of Murano!  


Thousands of Years in the Making

The history of Murano glassmaking is one of great interest and steeped in tradition. Glassmaking has been practiced in Venice since the time of the Roman Empire, and even from its early days the region took serious measures to elevate, protect, and establish the integrity of this art form. Furnaces that once rested in Venice were moved to the island of Murano to protect the city’s wooden buildings, as well as the trade secrets of the early Italian glassmakers. Further, the government passed laws prohibiting the importation of foreign glass and labor in the creation of Murano glass. Murano glass has since emerged as a distinct art form, well-guarded by tradition and passed down through generations. 

Over the centuries, glassmakers in Murano accommodated changing tastes by learning processes to produce glass with different finishes – forging “cristallo”, or clear glass, and “lattimo”, white glass that mimicked porcelain. New techniques emerged as well, such as "millefiori” meaning “a thousand flowers”. This technique is extremely intricate, combining multiple colors and distinct patterns to create pieces of incredible sophistication. These highly decorative pieces even gained the attention of royalty, some of whom commissioned pieces from the Murano artisans. Through times of shifting power and varied cultural influence, the Murano glassmakers took care to protect their craft and ensure its endurance in our world today. 

The process of glassmaking is intricate and requires great skill. It is mesmerizing to watch the artisans at work, transforming grains of sand into delicate masterpieces. It all starts when special mixtures of sand are combined and heated to produce specific colors. The mixtures are heated between 1200 to 1400 degrees Celsius, fusing the sand into glass. Temperatures vary throughout the process to create different levels of elasticity, and then shaping begins! 

Spinning, blowing, stretching, pinching, cutting, and detail work all occur in this process as the piece is heated and reheated, edited and refined. Artisans collaborate to execute these difficult techniques, carefully manipulating this molten material into its final, masterful form. Murano glassmakers take special measures throughout this entire process to ensure the best execution, quality, and finish is achieved, but those measures are known only to them! However, a Murano piece is always recognizable for its impeccable quality and finish.  


The Murano Family Legacy

To this day, the secret techniques of Murano glassmaking can only be inherited from fathers to sons. Sons begin to learn the craft around age 10, and only earn the title of Maestro after 30 or more years of practice. The glassmakers on Murano pride themselves on the 100% handmade quality of their pieces. The handmade nature and careful techniques of Murano glassmaking have been upheld for centuries to ensure that each item is truly one-of-a-kind. Glass is a medium that never ages, never fades. When owned with care, a Murano Glass item is an inimitable work of art that only grows in value over time.  

Our dedicated merchants at Wisteria traveled to Italy to bring these wonderful pieces to you, our dear customer. Our Murano Glass Collection will transport you to a place where bright colors and smooth surfaces gleam under the Venetian sun. Our mission is to bring the wonders of the world to your home. These pieces come with a deep history of their own, but the next page of their story lies waiting to be written by you! Learn, explore, and discover the beauty of the handmade with the Murano Glass Collection from Wisteria.