Glassy lady

Well, we finally found a bit of Venice we really liked. It’s where the glass comes from, Murano. It’s more of a real place, with real people and a lot less made up than Venice proper! We wandered around most of it, enjoying the fact that we were actually alone for long periods of time. That’s not to say that tourists don’t swarm over Murano.

On the contrary. They arrive on the island looking for a special glass creation. And the shops on Murano are just the thing. The entire island was once dedicated to the making of glass because a long time ago the Venetian authorities were a bit concerned about the big furnaces being close to the homes in the main parts.

It reminds me of all the candle factories in Edinburgh being in the one street so if there was a fire, it would be contained in that one street. In the case of Murano, the whole island could burn down and only the people living and working there would burn.

Fortunately that didn’t happen and instead, the artisans of Murano flourished and became world famous for their glass making techniques. They also managed to perfect new processes in glass making and, because they were all hidden away on their own little island, they decided not to share their new secrets. This meant they owned the monopoly and, of course, everyone wanted their glass because it was the best.

This was all well and good in the Renaissance but now the Chinese make it very cheaply, export it back to Venice and the shops sell it an incredibly inflated price. This means that some shops in Murano have to put a sign in the window saying their glass is real Murano glass and, therefore more expensive. This is how capitalism works.

All along the main canal there are countless shops (actually, that’s not true, you could count them if you really, really wanted to) selling all sorts of glass creations. Some lovely, some hideous, some plain bizarre. It’s a shopper’s delight. We looked for a way out of the crowds and found the real Murano behind the shopping stretch.

It’s a shame we didn’t stay on Murano. It is lovely. Houses with gardens, trees, birds, no cars, and quiet. And it would have been just as easy to get to from the station. Just hop aboard a ferry and get off about half an hour later. I’d recommend this to anyone coming to Venice who wants to be able to escape the madness and tourist infestations of the main part of Venice for quiet nights and just a boat ride away.

After a jolly good wander we ended up at a little café where we sat with coffee (peach tea for Mirinda – her newest addiction) and watched the locals at work and play.

We had lunch on a terrace over the main canal and watched the tourists walk back and forth over the bridge and along the footpath. The food was good, the service good, the rosè eventually nicely chilled. We finished and spent a long time and many euros on the walk back to the ferry.

There are a couple of churches on Murano. Most people visit the main one in order to see the Bellini paintings. But then they tend to miss the wonderful mosaics in the floor of St Maria Donato. We visited this second one. Sadly there weren’t any English guidebooks, just Italian and French. However, I managed to get a photograph of the wonderful pair of roosters carrying off a fox tied to a stick.

Two roosters taking home the fox for dinner

There was also a singularly ugly glass Jesus on a cross which I didn’t bother taking. I did bother taking the photo of the strange glass lady though. She just stands in the middle of a road to the ferry and is rather odd. Her breasts and tummy are mirrors while the rest is balloon-like glass.

Creepy glass woman sculpture on Murano

We eventually caught the long distance, scenic #5 vaporetto back to St Marks – Zaccaria where we switched to the #2 down the Grand Canal to Rialto and home.

Dinner was a simple affair at the civilised time of 9:30pm. Pizza for me, spag bol for Mirinda. And, of course, an ice cream on the meandering way back to the flat. The temperature was noticeably higher as we walked between the walls, hemming us in. Rather glad we’re leaving tomorrow.

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