To learn about the history of a city, I believe it is essential to visit the museums that preserve the history and works of a place. However, when you visit Venice’s museums you discover new aspects not only of the city and its history but also of the history of mankind.
In fact, visiting the Murano Glass Museum means understanding why this particular type of glass is so prized and how old the tradition of glassmaking is in Venice, a city where, with the craftsmanship handed down from the ancients, a unique material that is always capable of being modern is still produced.
Murano is one of the many islands in the Venetian lagoon and is world-famous for its glasswork, which has been produced here for centuries. The history of glass is told in the Glass Museum.
Murano Glass Museum
The glorious history of Murano glass began with the founding of Venice, whose first inhabitants were familiar with the Roman production technique, but it was in 1291 that glass began to be produced on the island, as in that year all the glassworks built in Venice were destroyed by numerous fires and it was decided to rebuild them all on the island of Murano.
THE GLASS MUSEUM
The Glass Museum was founded in 1861 with the intention of creating an archive on the history of the island of Murano, but as it is linked to the art of glassmaking, the collection of glass objects soon occupied all available space and took over the archive documents.
The Palazzo in which the Museum is located is Gothic and was once the home of a noble family, later becoming the residence of Marco Giustinian, Bishop of Torcello, who moved the seat of his diocese here.
It was precisely in those years that the Palace underwent extensive renovations, of which the ceiling of the central hall, a work by Francesco Zugno (1709-1787) depicting the ‘Triumph of San Lorenzo Giustiniani’, the first Patriarch of Venice, remains a testimony.
The Palazzo remained the seat of the Diocese of Torcello until 1805 and in 1840 it became the property of the Municipality of Murano, which supported the creation of the Museum.
THE LINK BETWEEN THE MUSEUM AND THE GLASSWORKS
Initially, in addition to the archive on the island of Murano’s activities and the collection of works, the activities also included a school where glassblowers could study drawing and glass from the past, immediately denoting the institution’s strong link with the Murano furnaces, which have always sought to renew techniques and styles, while being aware of traditions.
In 1923, with the annexation of Murano to the Municipality of Venice, the Glass Museum became part of the city’s museum circuit. Its collections were reorganised and enriched with antique and Renaissance glass from other collections.
NEW GLASS MUSEUM LAYOUT
In 2015, the Museum was reopened to the public after a completely renovated layout, and presents itself as a cultural sentinel where the history of Murano Glass is told through a collection made up of precious glass from the past, but which looks to the future with new works of contemporary glass that bear witness to a history that is not yet over.
The tour is chronological and traces more than seven hundred years of Murano Glass history, allowing visitors to learn more about the techniques that make this glass so precious.
The work not to be missed at the Glass Museum is certainly the Coppa Barovier, the masterpiece of glassmaking in the Renaissance period.
Museo del Vetro di Murano
Fondamenta Giustinian, 8
Isola di Murano