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Glass Blowing and Gondolas in Venice

I am going to take my 10 year old daughter to Venice in August. She is very artistic and has expressed a desire to see a glass factory/blowing exhibition. Can anyone recommend a place? Also, how expensive ar the Gondola rides?

Posted by
1352 posts

You have to go out to Marona to see the glass blowing. We didn't schedule anything, but just walked along til we saw a demonstration in progress. My then 11 year old was so fascinated we had to watch it twice. Have fun!

Posted by
20 posts

Murano - This is where the glass blowing factories are. Your hotel can probably help you arrange a tour. Though beware... the factories will take you by boat to/from the factories where you can see the glass blowing, but then will "encourage" you to buy something.

You can also take the Alilaguna (http://www.alilaguna.it/). This is the line that connects Venice with the airport as well.

Gondolas - Read RS book on updated costs (my books is from 2004). Remember -Prices are always negotiable for gondola rides. The best place I've found to get a gondola is at the back of Piazza San Marco near Rio Orseolo. Also, don't feel pressured. Walk away if you don't like the price.

Posted by
216 posts

I'm blanking on the vaporetto number right now, but I'm thinking it's #5 (?) that goes out to Murano. Take it out and get off at the first stop and there will be someone there encouraging you to come see a glass blowing demonstration. It's usually 10 minutes or so in length--no obligation to buy anything in their store. (Don't know the name of the place--sorry.) As for gondola rides, e100-150 is on the high side. As stated above, you can always negotiate. The further away you get from St. Mark's and the Rialto Bridge, the better chance you have of getting a better price. I had two groups of students negotiate a price of e60 or e70 for a daytime ride. I assume the night time rides are more expensive.

Posted by
14 posts

We just returned from Venice. The price of a gondola ride does go up in the evening. We checked with a few different gondoliers in different locations for prices. They all showed us the same printed price list. Whether or not that price was negotiable, I don't know but there did seem to be a standard price.

Posted by
6898 posts

Murano is the glassblowing area. We just did this about 2 weeks ago. You want the Vaporetto #41 or #42 from either the Ferrovia (train station) or the San Zaccaria Pieta stops. At Murano, you want the Colonna stop. At the Vaporetto waiting barge, there are usually two barges - one for each direction. Go into the barge and look up at the stops shown for the #41 or #42. They both will eventually stop at Murano but depending on where you get on, one direction is shorter. No glassblowing on Sunday. Also, beware of the people in the major tourist areas promoting free trips to see the glassblowing. They are truly free to get you there and watch. However, if you don't buy anything, it won't be free coming back. They don't tell you that. Take the Vaporetto, it's really neat. On the Gondolas, they now seem to want 100 Euro per ride. It's for up to six and not each. We were at the Rialto Bridge area. The ride was about 35 minutes and we had 5 people. We each paid 20 Euro.

Posted by
151 posts

Congrats on travel with your daughter. We are taking our 6year old to France and Italy on Wednesday. I went to a Rick Steves class today in Edmonds and he talked about going to the glass blowing demonstrations right off of San Marco Square. He said that if we bring our guidebook they will usually let you in no problem for a quick demonstration. There's a sales pitch but no obligation. We are planning to visit Murano anyway but this is another option. Best wishes!

Posted by
705 posts

I was in Venice in March and my hotel offered me a tour to Murano. Free water taxi ride there and back and no obligation to buy. I didn't take them up on it but it may be worth checking at you hotel to see if they offer the same service. I did think of going by vaporetto but changed my mind as they were so crowded. People packed in like sardines!

With regards to the gondolas I heard a quote of 90 Euro it may be more now as it gets closer to their high season. One way to cut the cost is to hang around a gondola stop and see if there is anyone else who is happy to share. I saw 2 couples do this and so it made it quite an inexpensive experience.

Posted by
2 posts

My daughter and I thank you for the responses. We will definitely take that trip to Murano :)

Posted by
32 posts

When we were on an organized tour to Italy 4 years ago, we saw a glassblower in Venice that was arranged by our tour guide. Don't know if he "performs" for walk ins or not. We were back, on our own, about 2 weeks ago and went to Murano and walked in on a demonstration. They requested one euro each after it was over. Not a big deal, and then directed us to their store, but we were not pressured. Murano was a disappointment for us, but we got off at the first vaporetto stop. The later ones may be better. The vaporetto we took out there stopped a jillion times before it got to Murano, and we were packed in. We took one back that was direct, no stops and it was much better.
Our daughter and her husband took a gondola ride in late afternoon and paid 80 euros. The others they asked were 100. Keep trying until you get what you want. They were glad they did it, but won't spend the money for it again. They gondolier talked on his cell phone and the people along the canal. Have fun.

Posted by
5287 posts

As several have mentioned above, offers for free water taxis to Murano for a demonstration will abound, but the sales pitch will be hot and heavy, and some have remarked that "no buying" meant "no ride back" to Venice. Better to be a walk-in by taking the vaperetto. Just wander down the street until you see one starting. The gondolas are very expensive, you can split the cost with another group, but that can be hard to arrange.