Venice 30121 Murano
10 AM to 5 PM
April - Oct (April 1 to October 31)
10 AM to 6 PM
World-famous Venetian glass, in rainbow colors, has been produced since the 1290s on this microscopic series of islands in the Lagoon. Murano is a pleasant place to while away half a day exploring the medieval waterfront houses, back-street alleyways, and bridges over narrow canals; take the waterbus over from Fondamente Nuove. Make time for the colonnaded and curving apse of the lovely Basilica dei Santa Maria e Donato, architectural highlight of the islands, which dates from 1140. Most visitors, however, head to Murano for the glassware, so head for the Museo del Vetro, housed in the restrained 17th-century Palazzo Giustinian. Here you’ll get to learn about the history of glassmaking–by the 15th century, Murano was the center of the industry for the whole of Europe, specializing in highly decorative shapes and jewel-like shades. There’s a rare collection of glassware in all shapes and sizes dating from Egyptian times to contemporary pieces in vivid primary colors, but don’t miss the cristallino glass popular in the 15th century, as pale as Murano glass is normally bright, and delicately patterned with flower, fruit, and mythical motifs. Afterwards, discover the many stores selling glass to choose a souvenir piece, but don’t expect many bargains. It will take approximately 4 hours to tour the island and 1.5hrs to see the museum.