The Prestige House in Murano, ItalyWhen we began planning our Easter weekend trip to Venice, a friend of ours suggested staying in Murano to get more of a “real” experience. So, as I always do, I instantly consulted with AirBnB to weigh our options. Turns out (it shouldn’t have been a surprise) that it’s ridiculously expensive to stay in Venice, so Murano was the obvious place to look next. We came across the perfect apartment, The Prestige House, in the center of Murano. A fantastic price for a fabulous 2-bedroom apartment right on the water… honestly, I thought there must have been an error with the pricing or quality. But once we arrived, the apartment and owner were superb in every way. Marco, the owner of the apartment, met us at the Alilaguna Ferry stop in Murano and walked us to the apartment. We immediately recognized that there was no false advertising in “waterfront apartment”! This is Kelley walking in the living room door…
The view from the bedroom window… not too shabby!
The apartment had recently been renovated by Marco and all of the light fixtures were hand-made by him. The kitchen was stocked with fresh fruit, snacks, water and beer and before he left, he gave us his recommendations on where to eat locally. He also offered a private tour of his uncle’s glass workshop the next morning which we gladly accepted!
We ate lunch along the canal at Trattoria Ai Vetrai. Great Italian food, but if you’re in a hurry, you probably shouldn’t do a “sit down” lunch here… well, anywhere in Italy to be exact. They take their time… on everything. From bringing you the menu to bringing you the check. And there’s no point in being rude about it. That’s just the way it is. But maybe this is something us Americans could learn from… to sit and ENJOY the atmosphere, the company and the moment you’re in.
Exploring Murano, Italy
Marco arrived at our apartment early the next morning for the glass-blowing tour he had promised. We followed him away from the touristy center towards the more residential area of Murano. We passed a school, a church, a cemetery, the mail man (a DHL boat) and the garbage man (a garbage boat). Marco himself had grown up on the island, went to school in Murano as a young boy and Venice as a teenager. Have you ever thought that some kids take a ferry boat instead of a school bus? These small “I never would’ve guessed” moments are what I love about traveling!
We arrived at an old door that opened up to what used to be the Murano outdoor courtyard movie theater. Since Murano isn’t quite the bustling town it was in the 60s and 70s, this property is now owned by Marco’s uncle who has been in the glass blowing business for most of his life. They own a glass shop together on the main canal in Murano but this little workshop is where the magic is made. When we walked in, Marco’s uncle was hard at work perfecting a new lavender color on a glass clown.
The intricate detail that he was able to achieve by using a flame and sticks of glass was simply mind-blowing. You can see in the photo below the many tools and colored glass sticks that he uses.
Kelley and Marco chatting away.
He made this beautiful rose in about 5 minutes. What talent!
What makes Murano glass so famous?Well… Marco gave us the inside scoop on the history. From the 9th to 12th century, the Venetian Republic was a super power both commercially and navally. Glass artisans from the middle east began to trickle into Venice with their trade and pretty soon Venice was the new expert in glass. In the 1200s, fearing fire would burn the entire city built of wood, the Venetian Republic ordered all glassmakers move to Murano and thus, the famous Murano glass was born.
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