Discover the history and traditions of the Island of Murano and unveil the secrets of Murano glass.
Join us for a half-day tour of Murano to discover the architectural, religious and artistic history of this fascinating island. We will visit the amazing 10th Century Basilica of Santa Maria e Donato with her spectacular mosaic floors, view the artistic masterpieces of Tintoretto and Bellini housed in the Church of San Pietro, and finally visit the Ex Chiesa di Santa Chiara where we'll discover both the history of this medieval church and experience Murano glass today.
The Murano Glass Highlights of this Tour:
Making of Glass. You will witness the creation of a glass object before your very eyes, made by a glass master using the techniques of glass blowing and lampworking.
Murano Glass Beads and People . Learn some of the international history of Venetian glass beads. Venetian glass beads are celebrated all over the world, among peoples of many cultures, for their colors and lustre. They have been used to make every kind of jewelry.
Murano Glass and the Home. You'll learn about the historic importance of glass in past in its many uses around the home in, for example, mirrors, chandeliers, windows and hourglasses. It was thanks to Murano glass that, by the year 1500, Venice was the only city to have glass windows in every house and lamps in every room.
Glass and the Table. The story of glass used to preserve foodstuffs, with bottles, vials and carafes. Glass is always with us, now as in the past, as we drink from glasses and eat from glass plates, or take tea in special cups reminiscent of porcelain.
At the end of this memorable journey, each couple will be given a glass souvenir to remind them of their visit to Santa Chiara and Murano.
Additional experiences that guests at the Ex Chiesa di Santa Chiara can enjoy include:
Createyour own perfume. Choose and test fragrances, with the help of an expert, who will give you a sample of the perfume selected and created exclusively by you. (Personalized engraved bottles are available at an additional cost.)
Create your own necklace with Venetian glass beads. With the advice of an artist, you can create your own necklace in the colors and sizes of beads you choose. (Instruction is included, but the cost of beads is not.)
See More Details of this tour
The Glassmasters of La Serenissima learned the art of creating and shaping glass from the Roman people, who settled on the Venetian islands to escape the Barbarian invasion into Europe. Their knowledge of this craft was preserved, handed down and developed throughout the centuries, reaching its greatest expression on the island of Murano. Murano became the center of glass production in Venice thanks to the Doge's decree of 1291 which ordered all glass furnaces in Venice to be located on the Island. The immeasurable value of glass production to the Republic of Venice led to the creation, in 1605, of the Golden Book of Glass Masters. There, the names of the greatest craftsmen were inscribed, giving them noble status on Murano and licensing them to practice their trade. Meanwhile, the Republic guarded the secrets of Murano glass production with extremely strict laws to sanction anyone who divulged knowledge of Murano Glass working techniques outside Venice. This guided tour starts from the Basilica of San Donato, founded in the 10th century and home since 1125 to the body of San Donato, brought from Kefalonia after its conquest by Doge Michiel. Unique in form, this church is a rare example of Romanesque style in the lagoon, and its interior contains some particularly splendid mosaics. You will next discover the treasures housed in the 16th century church of San Pietro. These include masterpieces by Tintoretto and Bellini whose commissioning and presence on the Island are evidence of the prosperity enjoyed here during the Renaissance.
The last church we'll visit is the Ex Chiesa di Santa Chiara, built as an Augustinian monastery in 1231 and subsequently becoming a convent for the Franciscan order of Santa Chiara, the church was an important part of the religious and political life of the Island. However, the Church was among many religious institutions in the Venetian lagoon to be deconsecrated by Napoleon. Eventually, the former-church became one of the island's principal sites of glassmaking activity.
At the Ex Chiesa di Santa Chiara, guests will learn about man's ancient links with glass, a relationship made special by the nature of the only lightweight, maleable material that can be shaped to create items of everyday use.