How to Have A Mind (Glass) Blowing Venice Day Trip to Murano
Venice is beautiful no doubt about it (we loved it), but it can definitely get overcrowded by tourists. Our solution, taking a day trip from Venice to visit Murano, an island only one mile away from Venice. In our opinion, Murano, Italy is worth a trip just as much as Venice. Like Venice, Murano Island also has lovely canals with small streets and several charming buildings and bridges. There are also plenty of things to do in Murano, such as the Murano glass museum, but the main attraction is glass blowing. Murano is famous around the world for their glass blowing pieces. On the island, you can visit a glass blowing factory and watch the artists at work. This guide will help visitors on achieving the best Venice day trip to Murano Island. We will break everything down on how to get to Murano Island, how to buy authentic Murano glass (not as easy as you would think), finding the right glass blowing demonstrations and more.
How To Get To Murano Island
A day trip to Murano Island is very easy. Visitors take public transportation from Venice to Murano by ACTV’s waters (Venice’s transportation system). Though colorful, ACTV’s map of all the waterbus’ routes look quite overwhelming, so we will make it as black and white for you as possible.
If you are coming from the most popular route, S. Zaccaria (the waterfront promenade in front of Piazza San Marco and Doge’s Palace), take the 4.2 line waterbus. This route takes around 40 minutes. The 4.2 line drops visitors off in six different locations on Murano Island, but we recommend either Colonna or Museo. Colonna is close to the glass blowing demonstration, whereas Museo is close to the Glass Museum. For reference, Murano Island is very small, to walk from Colonna to Museo is around 15 minutes.
If you are coming from the Piazzale Roma, Ferrovia (the bus and railroad stations) or Fondamente Nove, you are in luck because it is a direct route to Murano Island. From Piazzale Roma or Ferrovia, visitors should take ACTV’s line 3 for a 17-minute route. From Fondamente Nove, visitors should take ACTV’s 4.1 or 4.2 line for only a ten-minute route.
Prices will vary depending on where you start but can be purchased at a ticket stand in front of the waterbus stations. If you are wanting to visit Burano Island and use waterbus’ throughout your visit to Venice, we recommend you purchase a pass that best fits your needs. For more information please visit Veneto Inside. Please make sure you purchase your ticket (don’t try to be sneaky) and if you have trouble scanning it at the stations, keep it with you because someone will ask to see it onboard.
Exploring Murano Island
Murano may not have the luxurious golden touches as Venice, but it is less crowded and still beautiful. Walking alongside the canals is more peaceful too because it is not filled with tourists on gondolas. You will not find any cars on this island either, only boats docked along the canals. Murano Island is almost like a little European island getaway making it a great Venice day trip.
In addition to the beautiful canals and bridges, Murano has some charming and colorful buildings with flowers hanging from the balconies and windows. Visitors can also find Murano art pieces spread throughout the island. We came across a life-sized Murano glass abacus and Murano’s famous glass blue sculpture by Simone Cenedese. We truly enjoyed walking around Murano Island, getting lost in its beauty.
How To Find a Glass Blowing Demonstration
We wanted to visit Murano for two reasons, to see glass blowing in action and to purchase an authentic Murano glass piece. These are the two things to do in Murano that you really cannot pass up. Finding information online for glass blowing demonstrations prior to our trip was difficult. It was not until we were in Murano when we learned that glass blowing is truly an artist passion and career. Glass blowing artisans practice their work for several years and do not like visitors trying to steal their creative ideas. In fact, we were not allowed to take photos inside some of the biggest glass shops. We really appreciated Murano’s initiative to respect their work instead of making it a tourist trap.
When visitors arrive to Murano, they should get off at the Colonna stop to watch glass blowing demonstrations. It is recommended to come early in the morning to be able to really watch the glass blowing artists at work. Since this is their passion, a lot of Murano glass factories are closed for public viewing, but if you peek inside some stores and ask to see their factory, you may get lucky to enjoy a lovely glass blowing experience.
The only Murano glass factory tour we came across (and know of) that is always open to the public for visitors to watch a glass blowing demonstration and for FREE is V.I.A Factory. When you get off the waterbus from Colonna, take the first left and walk down the small street called Calle S. Cipriano. At one point, you will see a large sign that says “Fornace – Entreat Libera.” Someone will be organizing guests of when they can enter the factory. Each demonstration takes around ten minutes, so if you do have to wait, it will not be for long.
The glass blowing demonstration is quite fascinating. The artists do not speak, they just work on their passion and craft. We watched them finish drinking glasses from start to finish. During the ten minute demonstration, we probably saw them finish at least three drinking glasses and they were the most beautiful ones we have ever seen. We watched the artists dip the hot glass into bowls of different colors, then place it in the furnace, rotating it constantly. When they would take the glass out, they would form it with tools and of course, blow into it. They would continue the process of placing it in the furnace and taking it out to form it into a drinking glass until it was perfect.
How to Purchase Authentic Murano Glass
Murano glass can be anything from contemporary art pieces, glass figurines, chandeliers, vases, centerpiece bowls and more. Millions of people travel to Murano Island just to purchase the special and authentic Murano glass. However, purchasing Murano glass is not as easy as you would think. Though the artists are serious about their glass blowing pieces, some shops in Murano are a tourist trap. What do we mean? Before you make your purchase of Murano glass, check to make sure it is authentic Murano glass. You can do this by checking with the store owner to make sure they have Vetro Artistico Murano sticker/certificate. The certificate can also be seen outside the shop’s door. Some items may also have Murano or the artists name etched on the piece. If the price seems too good to be true, it may be fake. Murano glass prices can be steep and for good reason, each piece is made differently, there is never an identical piece of Murano glass. For more information on the certificate click here.
We purchased two small clusters of green and blue grapes for our wine cabinet and a small giraffe figurine for Christina’s mom. The grapes had Murano etched in the leaf, whereas, the giraffe came with the Vetro Artistico Murano sticker.
For those wanting to purchase something bigger, such as a vase, the glass shops can ship your piece to your home. However, if the glassware arrives broken, filing a claim, receiving a replacement and getting a hold of the shop can be a hassle. Some say they had no problem with their shipments while others did not, it honestly just depends.
Even if you do not want to purchase Murano glass, walking into the glass shops is amazing. The well-known shops even have huge glass displays to showcase the artist’s work. Murano glass shops like these, do not allow visitors to take photos of ANY piece. The artists and shops are very protective and proud of their creative pieces and are wary of people stealing their work. We found smaller shops to be more lenient and we were allowed to take pictures of the Murano glass. Regardless if the stores are well-known or not, admiring their pieces almost make you feel you as if you are walking into a museum.
Speaking of a museum…
Murano Glass Museum
The Murano Glass Museum was founded in 1861 and showcases the history of glass, most notably, Murano glass. The museum begins with archaeological finds during the late Roman age (1st and 2nd century A.D.), and continues with a glass art collection that dates back as early as the 15th century all the way to the 20th century. It is one of the most unique museums in the world that allows visitors to see how much glass blowing has progressed through the centuries. From jewelry to chandeliers, vases, and a replica of a garden – the Murano Glass Museum has a stunning collection. There are even breathtaking chandeliers hanging from a painted ceiling mural. Visitors almost feel as if they stepped back in time walking through the Murano Glass Museum. It is definitely worth a visit to admire the history and collection of glass.
Murano Glass Museum
Fondamenta Marco Giustinian
8, 30141 Venezia VE, Italy
+39 041 739586
Open Daily: 10am – 5pm
Price: Adults €10, children between 6 to 14 yrs, senior citizens over 65 yrs €7.50, children under 5 yrs FREE, more pricing options on the website
I hope we have inspired you to take a Venice day trip to Murano Island, it is truly a mind (glass) blowing experience you will never forget!