Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Murano Glass Factory, or my favorite souvenir from Italy

On our first day in Venice, we took a tour to Murano which is an island northeast of Venice and is well-known for its glass factories and their beautiful pieces of glassware.  We toured the Ferro and Lazzarini factory (here is their Facebook page - I thought it was funny that they had a Like Us on Facebook sign in their tour entryway, but this is a great way to see some of their work) and watched a glass-blowing demonstration which was fascinating.  We've seen glass blowing before at Disney World and other places where they make tiny figurines, but the demonstration we saw began with a huge fiery blob that turned into a beautiful large vase!  And then they did another one where the glass master made a Ferrari horse in two minutes time.  Unbelievably skilled. 

After the demonstration, like all good tours, we were herded into the gift shop, only instead of being a gift shop, it was their showroom.  There were beautiful pieces everywhere - bowls, glasses, serving trays, decorative pieces, chandeliers, jewelry - anything you could imagine that a glass factory might make.  The pieces came in various sizes and colors.  We learned that the color of the glass is what drives the price among similar pieces; for example, a red colored piece gets its hue from gold, so of course it's going to cost more.  They demonstrated the durability of the glass by taking a set and banging the cup down hard on the table - it startled me but it didn't break!

I hadn't planned to buy anything specific, but the glass was so beautiful that here's what I ended up with.  The store wrapped it well so we were able to get it home in one piece. Now to find a place for it and to remember it's ok to use it - definitely not for display only.

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