Address: Venetian Lagoon Islands, Venice, Italy

- Free


The home of Venetian glass-making since 1291.

Vaporetto lines 41 and 42, or LN from Fondamenta Nove, go to the island of Murano where Venice's glass foundries – prone to catching fire and burning down large chunks of the then-wooden city – were banished in 1291. And there they have remained to this day, the muranesi glass masters using much the same materials and techniques as their 13th-century forebears. Watching a blob of molten colour be blown and twisted into shape against the background of a fiery furnace is pure magic. 

The magic, unfortunately, is often tarnished by the hard sell of glass showroom sales reps who hover by the ferry stop and edge visitors towards purchasing as much of the 'local' product as possible (I say 'local' because there's a fair amount of imported tat mixed in with the real thing). But if you can, stand your ground and don't allow yourself to be pressured: it's worth persevering for a glimpse of this wondrous craft.

Fondamenta dei Vetrai is the island's glass-shop-packed main drag with shops selling everything from exquisite Murano creations to tacky imports (see my Shopping Guide – Shopping in Venice: Venetian glass – for further information). The 12th-century basilica of Santi Maria e Donato is a gem of Venetian architecture, while the church of San Pietro Martire contains two lovely works by Giovanni Bellini. The Glass Museum (Fondamenta Giustinian 8, +39 041 739586, closed Wed, €5.50, €3 concessions) gives an excellent overview of the glass industry.

Value for money

Price advice

Entrance to the Glass Museum costs €5.50 (€3.30 concessions).

Expert tips

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • First-time travellers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Singles
  • Great views / scenery
  • Shopping
  • Sightseeing
  • Art
  • Design and architecture