I'll be in Venice next month and will stay for a few days. I've been there a few times, but haven't been to Murano for many years. I'm interested in buying some small glass pendants, and other small pieces of glass. Is it worth a trip to Murano? I've heard that prices and selection are just as good if not better in Venice. Is Murano worth a day trip or half-day trip for sightseeing (other than shops)? I really enjoyed Burano, but didn't enjoy Murano because my tour mate at the time only wanted to visit glass shops. Any advice from visitors would be great!
I bought lots of small glass pendants in Venice itself for gifts. I also bought some earrings. They seem to be everywhere, so you don't need to go to Murano. I had also looked for and found the Murano watch that someone had recommended to me on this site and bought it as gifts for two people and myself. That I really had to look for in the stores, not everyone carried the watches. Venice was at the end of our trip in Sept. I waited until there to buy almost all my gifts. The pendants are great because they are light weight to carry and everyone loved them.
Impossible to disagree with the previous post, BUT Murano is also charming, with a few nice bakeries and a condensed shopping area. Some nice public glass sculpture as well. The selection is much more spread out in Venice, and probably harder to access, with much larger crowds. If you've seen Venice before, a few hours in Murano is worth the trouble, to me.
I agree with John, Murano is most charming to walkthrough. True, the glass is probably more expensive. However, we did buy some things there. Both sides of the canal are loaded with nice little shops. True also is the "hustle" to buy at the glass-blowing places. It does take about 4-6 hours to vaporetto out there, window shop along the canal, have lunch and then vaporetto back.
As a side note, we did buy some larger glass jewelry and small vases in Venice and not in Murano.
I would rather spend a little more time exploring another neighborhood in Venice than taking a half day for Murano. There isn't all that much to see except for a walk up the central canal and some interesting glass art (like a balcony with glass flowers) along the way.
I've never been to Murano or Burano so will go just for a look see as I have a week to explore. If you want to find nice glass beads and pendants -- not the stuff you see in every other souvenire shop -- there is a nice bead shop in the Santa Croce area. I found it by chance. I just Googled and found this on slowtrav.com:
Riflessi Veneziani (glass beads and jewelry)
Santa Croce 1834-1867
My friend was shopping for loose Venetian glass beads for her daughter who makes jewelry. We looked in some expensive and unexciting glass stores in the San Marco/Rialto area, then we stumbled across this place. The lady was sitting there making jewelry – she explained that it was both a factory/studio and a shop. There were many jars of loose beads (and once she realized we were interested in beads, she began pulling boxes of them from behind the counter). They were beautiful, and she had some vintage/antique ones too
Prices in Venice are lower because it probably wasn't actually made in Murano, but in China. My friends and I got a demonstration from a woman in a shop in Venice over how to tell the difference and you really can see it once you have been shown. True Murano glass is translucent and obviously blown. The stuff made in Chine is often opaque and obviously molded. If a bargain is what you want more than getting the genuine stuff, it won't matter.
Thanks, everyone. I am aware of the need to watch out for authentic Murano craftsmanship, but thanks for the reminder! It sounds like Murano might not be worth a trip in terms of both glass and other sightseeing. Maybe I'll just explore Venice neighbourhoods i haven't had time for in previous trips.
My husband and I enjoyed the glass museum in Murano.
A few years ago I bought glass hearts in a shop in St Mark's Square--probably before the Chinese import influx. They were very reasonable and have held up well. I think the shop was almost directly across from Florian's, but it's been a few years.
And I bought some lovely glass beads in a shop in an alleyway--was totally lost. If you like the style and the price and it's not made in China, then that's the time to buy...
I think it depends on what kind of pendants and jewelry you want. We visited Venice this month, and since I work in glass myself, I know some of the techniques and really wanted to find some unusual pieces. Much of the stuff in the shops is very similar, and of course, pricier the closer you get to San Marco Square! I did not buy any jewelry until we went to Murano, and I almost didn't buy any there until we passed this one little shop and discovered some very unique lampworked earrings. They were made on the spot by the artist. The shop is called NON SOLO Vetro di Magalotti Laura (f. Ta Riva Longa N. 1/B, Murano). I got 3 pair for myself plus several more gifts, including pendants, for holiday gifts for family. We loved prowling around Murano--it reminds me of a quaint fishing village. We spent an afternoon there and really enjoyed how different the atmosphere was from Venice.
Though I don't think I could tell the origin of one glass piece from another, I truly enjoyed going to Murano for an afternoon. The ride on the lagoon was delightful -- it was wonderful to get away from the crowded streets everywhere in Venice & see more sky than people. And some of our most treasured photos were taken there.
There's also the Murano "Duomo", a marvelous structure with the most unusual features near the canal and a gold encrusted mosaic of the Madonna dating to medieval times. We had to wait for the congregation to finish their Sunday afternoon Mass, but it gave us more time to just wander about. I recommend it.