Murano glass has been a favorite of art collectors and casual shoppers for centuries. Since the 8th century, generations of families have passed on their technique for making amazing pieces, giving the region the nickname of Glass Island. From chandeliers to vases, gorgeous jewelry to cute art, each piece represents hard work and beauty.
Founded in 1861, the Murano Glass Museum (or Museo del Vetro) features one of the most complete collections of Murano glass in the world. The museum became a reality thanks to the hard work of Antonio Colleoni, then mayor of Murano, and Abbot Vincenzo Zanetti, who was a glass making enthusiast. They sought to preserve the pieces donated by local families and factories, as well as create an archive of the history of the region, which is closely tied to glass.
A Stunning Home for Glass History
The Murano Glass Museum is located in the south-east area of the island of Murano, in the former Palazzo Giustiniani. In the XVII century, this palace was the residence of Bishop Marco Giustiniani, and was later donated to the Torcello diocese.
The gothic-style building became part of the municipality of Murano around the 1840s and was used as the town hall for many years. When the museum was founded in 1861, it was located on the first floor of the building. As the collection grew, the museum slowly took over the rest of the floors. In 1923, when the Murano municipality became part of Venice, the museum formally became part of the Civic Museums of Venice.
The Glass Museum’s exhibits are arranged chronologically. As walk through the museum, you can follow the evolution of Murano glass, from its humble beginnings, into the golden age of the XIV century, through a short-lived period of decline in the XVIII century, passing into a revival around the late XIX century, and through to today. There are pieces from local artists such as Luciano Gaspari and Maria Grazia Rosin, and from international glassmakers like the Japanese artist Yoichi Ohira and the American artist Dale Chihuly.
The museum also mounts temporary exhibitions from upcoming artists in the glassmaking world. Running through April 2017, the exhibition Murano Today: Emotions of glass is a modern tribute to the region’s identity and its history of glassmaking.
The Murano Glass Museum is a living tribute to the region of Murano and the hard work of its glassmakers. A stop at the museum is a must if you ever visit the region, but be prepared to fall in love with the art of Murano glass. For more information, click here to visit the Museum’s official website.
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