Murano: More than Glass Blowing

When there were impossible crowds in Venice, Murano was a great escape. It is still a great place to go to.

In Murano, like in Venice the consequences of COVID are severe; very much so. Although walking the streets and visiting the famous sites is more pleasant now, it is painful to see their empty stores and restaurants.

The last visit to Murano was very nice, a sunny September day to enjoy the Laguna.

While sailing to Murano we passed by Sant’Elena Island, the gardens of Venice. Although it is not a proper garden but an open space dominated by dense pine trees, bordered by avenues. This where Venetians go for their picnics.

Murano

Besides visiting the glass museum and watching someone showing the art of glass blowing (usually a glass and a rampant horse). There are a couple of churches that merit more than a quick look.

Before Napoleon arrived in Venice there were eighteen parishes, monasteries, and convents on the island.

Today only three functioning churches remain (Santa Maria and Donato, San Pietro Martire, Santa Maria Degli Angeli), while the remains of some other churches are still visible.

Santa Maria and Donato

This is my favorite one. It is first seen from the back, and it is just beautiful. I love it.

It is precisely the apse that represents one of the most important parts of the entire building, facing as it is towards the “fondamenta.”

Those beautiful arches are always taken by exhausted tourists.

The facade is architecturally less revolutionary. The church was probably built in the seventh century.

Subsequent restorations have significantly transformed it, the interior has three naves that converge in the central apse, facing east as it should be.

The apsidal basin houses a remarkable mosaic praying Madonna, a very beautiful work of Byzantine culture.

Of considerable importance is the mosaic floor, presumably contemporary to that of the basilica of San Marco.

Church of San Pietro Martire

It is located towards the end of the Rio dei Vetrai. Built in the Gothic style in the 14th century, it was destroyed by a fire in 1474.

Rebuilt with Renaissance forms, today it houses works of art and rich furnishings from churches and convents that Napoleon felt the urge to destroy (go figure…).

The first thing that caught my eye here were the chandeliers. Murano glass chandeliers of course.

Among the preserved masterpieces there are:

– An altarpiece by Jacopo Palma the Younger (1544.1628) depicting San Nicolò, Santa Lucia, San Carlo Borromeo, coming from the church of San Biagio at Giudecca;

– The Virgin of the Assumption and eight Saints (Peter, John the Evangelist, Mark, John the Baptist, and others) by Giovanni Bellini, coming from the Church of the Angels of Murano; I love Bellin’s paintings, and this was worth the visit.

– the Virgin enthroned between S. Mark, presenting the Doge Agostino Barbarigo, and S. Agostino Bishop (1488) again by Giovanni Bellini, a masterpiece of exquisite beauty, also from the Church of the Angels in Murano;

– the Baptism of Jesus, attributed to Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594) from the church of San Giovanni dei Battuti in Murano.

– Worth seeing is the wooden ridge in the Sacristy, belonging to the destroyed Church of San Giovanni dei Battuti.

Vetri for a Break

After walking around Murano among glass art, museums and churches, a well deserved break at Vetri is a must. The choices are;

Vetri Ristorante for new culinary proposals fine-tuned between the indoor and outdoor spaces of the new panoramic terrace;

Vetri Bistrot for a fresh and relaxed gastronomic offer;

Vetri Cafè, for a delicious break; and

InGalleria Shop to indulge in books, magazines, small objects with a refined design, ending with the scents and colors of the “Fioraio” green shop.

VETRI

Fondamenta Marco Giustinian, 1, 30141

Sooner or later this COVID problem will be solved and Italy will welcome you again.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

4 thoughts on “Murano: More than Glass Blowing

  1. Thank you, I would suggest a trip to Venice while there are still no tourists around. It’s a privilege that won’t come by often. Besides this year the weather is still so beautiful, and there is no ”acqua alta”… Yet… It is a chance of a lifetime, soon or later this COVID business will be solved. Or so I hope.

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  2. Have to pass this story along. We were in Lago di Garda years ago when a shop owner showed me a roll of “Made in Murano” stickers that they put on Chinese glass objects. Come si dice? Fa schifo!

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    1. Oh, I know that many do that in Murano too. But if one is attentive, it can recognize the authentic and valuable glass. And if money is not an issue, the Venini vases are spectacular.

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