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Venetian glass - do we really need to go to Murano

Venetian glass - do we really need to go to Murano

Old Jan 1st, 2005, 09:41 AM
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pg
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Venetian glass - do we really need to go to Murano

We are interested in getting a good experience of making of the glass products in Venice. We would also like to see a reasonable collection of a glass items while in Venice. From what I have read, it seems that Venice offers a decent sized sample of both glass-making and glass-collection. I would like to avoid having to spend half a day to make the Murano trip, but would not like to leave Venice without getting some exposure to this art.

We would be there in last week of Feb, and would appreciate your suggestions to plan this part of our trip. Thanks.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 09:46 AM
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Just would like to add that we are not into much shopping but are looking forward to picking some glass souvenir for friends back home.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Are you sure your friends will want those souvenirs? I've been the victim -- er, um, recipient -- of some of that stuff and don't appreciate it at all. Frankly you can pick the same stuff up at nearly any tacky gift shop in the US and often at lower prices. Murano glass souvenirs are not exclusive to Italy be a long shot. Now if you're talking about bringing back a $2000 signed piece of art glass, that is something else again.

Frankly, if you're into the "art" of glass making, I'd think you'd want to go to Murano to witness it being made.
You can take the boat for next to nothing (or free on a pass) and walk into studios and factories.

I've told my story of being with a friend who nearly bought a signed piece of birds in a tree that was huge and after bargaining down to something like $10,000 (yes, you're reading it right) she finally backed out. Later she saw the same price in an upper end jewelry store here in Naples, Florida for much less than that.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 11:16 AM
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We took the ferry to Murano, but I was not particularly impressed with what we were able to see. Frankly, I have seen as much of the actual art of glass blowing various places in the U.S. If you decide to go, avoid the 12-2:00 time frame (and/or double check) the time when the glass blowers will be on break. We arrived about the time they quit, and it was a full 2 hours before we could find anyone at work again. The stores were open, but there was not enough there to interest me for two hours. Just a suggestion. I would not bother to go again personally, but you may feel the effort worth it. Venice is incredible. Wish I were on my way there right now! pjk
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Hi
let me refer you to this recent thread on the same subject, it too has good advice

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34548338
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 11:31 AM
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pg, may I suggest that if you do buy Murano glass as presents for those back home that you think about getting small paperweights.

As Patrick mentioned, as lovely as the thought is I and many others have been given Murano glass (vases etc.) that are really more of a nuisance than anything, as much as the thought is appreciated.

I personally have kept only one Murano paperweight (that I bought myself) when I downsized my living situation. It seemed a good time to get rid of the various glass pieces that I really did not want. And even though I had a good excuse I know I hurt some people feelings which still makes me feel bad.

A small paperweight is easier for you to bring home and will not "overwhelm" your love ones.

You do not need to go to Murano to buy this glassware.

Do have a beautiful trip!

P.S. One of the most successful gifts I have often brought home from Italy is their leather bookmarks. I and everyone else that has them use them constantly. A small loving remembrance and so very easy to pack in your luggage of course.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 11:50 AM
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Thanks to all for your advice. It gives me all I need on shopping for mementos.
Can you please post some experience with the art of glass blowing? I will have young kids with me to whom it would be quite impressive to see this art. I have read that there are some places in Venice itself where they demonstrate this art. Do they do something in Murano that is more elaborate/ educational - that I will miss if limiting ourselves to Venice. I really want to see if I can get the essence of this art without having to spend more than half a day touring Murano. I will be visiting Ca'Rezzonico where I am sure that the chadeliers are going to be great examples of glass products.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 11:57 AM
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pg, when we went with our teenage daughter at the time we went to Murano. Do not know where the demonstrations are in Venice proper but that should be easy to get info on. So I do not know if the glass making exhibitions in Murano vs Venice are any better.

I will say this though. At one time in Benicia CA there were was a glass blowing studio. Believe they are still there. I took some out of town visitors. I felt that the one in Benicia was just about on the same level as the one in Murano.

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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 02:17 PM
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Just want to add my two-cents on the murano souvenir dilemma. Have to disagree as to these pieces being worthless and a guilt-laden encumbrance to the recipient.

While in Rome we found a great little shop with beautiful Murano pieces and brought several home to friends and family and have heard nothing but positive response. I think the key is 'little' (we were thinking packing space but turns out the recipients really appreciated the small size).

We found little frames, little ashtray-type dishes (use as ring bowls or soap dish for non-smokers) and little 'treasure keepers' (a small little bowl-type vessel with fitted lid).

Unless I was deceived by the recipients to encourage future gifts (possible) they were well received...
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 02:34 PM
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hightide, your gifts sound like what I was thinking of. Small! I have received over the years very large vases etc and not even in the colors I use. The became a cross to bear so to speak.

Your presents sound perfect to me, you can send me one when you take your next trip I am sure your loved ones were thrilled. "Small" is so much easier to get in the luggage and home too.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Several years ago in a building right on San Marco there was a glass blowing demonstration which my tour company took us to. You don't have to buy anything which I didn't. I would guess it's still there. You can ask when you get there.

I did go to Murano and saw glass blowing and my cousin purchased a large drinking glass set (wine, water, etc.) at a very good price. However, my purchases tend to be very small.

I still remember seeing beautiful paperweights in Switzerland and thought they were too expensive ($35 in 1990) and have never seen anything close to that price at home. Now if I see these glass pieces in Europe I buy them. I purchased several pieces this past April in Malta for myself and gifts. I think the key is small and my family really enjoys them.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 03:07 PM
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This may not help in the least as I don't have the name nor the address of the glass workshop/studio I visited, but just off Piazza San Marco, on the street north of the Basilica (Calle Canonica?), across a small bridge over the Rio Canonica di Palazzo (same canal as the Bridge of Sighs spans) is a studio that has a demonstration of glass blowing/art. The main studio is on Murano as we were told that hundreds of years ago, the city fathers were tired of all the fires that the many different glassworks created so they decreed that the factories had to move to Murano (don't know if the story is true or not). Anyway, this studio has a small area for the demonstrations and you are then escorted to display rooms that have thousands of objects available for purchase. They will even ship your purchases home for you and if of certain amount, waive the VAT (don't know if that still applies). You will recognize the studio because an extremely large green glass horse (larger than lifesize) is outside the entrance. If anyone knows the name of this studio and the address, I think it meets the OP's original request.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 03:52 PM
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Ke1th
it might be the Vecchia Murano shop?
That's quite close to the Piazza.
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Old Jan 1st, 2005, 04:34 PM
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I've had my "moments" about venetian glass.....not always my view of a "good look". But, In recent years two pieces have found there way in my home, a lovely 6 inch black bowl with silver flecking,,...very celestial....and a fabulous chalice with enamel etc. applied (very expensive)....lesson learned - look for the unique.....there are also a few small potters in Venice with unique items....
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