The Top Things to Do and See in Murano, Venice

Theres plenty to see in Venices famed glass-making district of Murano
There's plenty to see in Venice's famed glass-making district of Murano | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Luca Pinelli

Of all the islands in the Venetian lagoon, Murano is among the best known. Its artisan glassmaking history goes back centuries, and to this day Murano glass is revered the world over. Even beyond this, the island offers plenty of experiences and places to explore. Here’s a look at some of the best.

Museo del Vetro

Previously a 17th-century palace, Vetro was converted into a museum in 1861, and now stands as a monument to Murano’s glassmaking history. When production peaked in the late 19th century, local artisans donated huge amounts of their work to the museum, and it now has a very expansive collection that chronicles the history of the craft across generations.

Mazzega Glass Factory

Murano’s glassmaking isn’t consigned to the annals of history, mind you; it is still very much alive, and Mazzega is at the centre of it. Mazzega IVR completely changed the technique in the 1950s and set the standard not just in Murano but beyond. You can see the showroom, with 11 subsections displaying glass made in the factory, and learn more about the techniques they employ from an expert guide.

B Restaurant alla Vecchia Pescheria

Walking between the museums and other attractions can be exhausting, and B Restaurant alla Vecchia Pescheria knows this well. The restaurant provides a flexible dining experience; whether you’re in the mood for a quick aperitivo or a full meal, you’re covered, with a great local seafood menu on offer. It also sits near a glass furnace with a great view out towards the Rio dei Vetrai, where many of the artisans live.

Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato

As with the rest of Venice, Murano is full of interesting architecture, spanning the many eras of the city’s lifespan. The Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato was originally built in the 7th century, before being rebuilt several times over the centuries. Under its current guise, it’s dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Donato, and the relics of Saint Donato – a set of large rib bones said to belong to a dragon he slew – are behind the altar. In reality, the bones probably belonged to a large plesiosaur.

Santa Maria degli Angeli

Santa Maria degli Angeli, one of the main churches in Murano, is located on the Grand Canal, a medieval structure dating back to 1188 that was rebuilt and consecrated as holy ground in the 16th century. It looks quite unassuming from the outside, with a muted facade and bell tower, but within there are stunning frescoes, Carrara marble carvings and a meridian solar line depicted across the floor.

Grand Canal

As with the main part of Venice, Murano has a Grand Canal that bisects it down the middle. It’s smaller, obviously, and nowhere near as crowded, so it’s a great path to trace when exploring the other features of the island. To cross it, you can go over the Ponte Vivarini, or ‘Long Bridge’ as it is sometimes called, a charming, stylish piece of metal architecture.

Bruno Fusato Signoretti

Bruno Fusato Signoretti was one of the best known and most respected glassmakers in Murano. Famed throughout Italy and beyond for his skill and business acumen, as well as his management of the La Fenice Theatre in Venice proper, his workshop is open to the public, now run by his daughters following his death in 2014. You can still see the process in action, as well as purchase pieces from the store itself, although fair warning, it isn’t cheap.

Schiavon Art Team

Another of Murano’s most famous workshops, the Schiavon Art Team pride themselves on weird and wonderful creations bursting with colour, from vases to chandeliers to sculptures and other decorative pieces. You can visit the furnace itself to see them in action, or go to one of the two showrooms on Murano.

Palazzo da Mula

Palazzo da Mula is an example of Venetian gothic architecture that dates back to the Renaissance and is sometimes confused with the Palazzo da Mula Morosini, painted by Claude Monet in 1908. They are almost exactly the same, though, and Palazzo da Mula has a courtyard and garden, a feature many of the palaces on the Grand Canal do not have.

Chiesa di San Pietro Martire

Chiesa di San Pietro Martire is both a popular visiting point for tourists, and a religious destination for the Christian community in the area. It was first built in 1348 but then destroyed by a fire in 1474, so the version that stands today was actually constructed in 1511. Inside, there are all kinds of Renaissance-era features, as well as paintings by local Venetian masters Tintoretto and Veronese.

Additional reporting by Callum Davies.

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