Will there be time to visit Murano Glass Factory from Venice?
The Bellissima Northern Italy tour is on our radar for 2023, and we have a couple of questions. Looking to do a small group tour, and they're available all summer. Which would be a preferred month to go? Choosing between June and September? I also have a question on the last day in Venice. Being a stained-glass hobbyist, I'd love to tour the Murano glass factory, not just go to a shop. Would we have time to do this on our last day or should we book an extra day? Here is the description. Thank you all for your wonderful advice and insight on this forum. I browse it every day!
It depends on your preferences as to which time of year to go. We enjoy cooler climates and typically travel in spring and fall. What are your preferences?
Regarding the final day, it appears you have the entire day on your own until the farewell dinner. I would recommend researching the glass factory for open and closing times, whether tickets are required in advance and whether or not it is a self-guided tour.
I would add some extra days. Definitely go in June, it will be cooler than Sept
my research shows it's usually a degree or two cooler in Sept. but in any case take a look at pics of Venice right now and you will choose post-summer, a bit less crowded, though granted nothing is easy to predict these days. I was last there in October and it was still warmer than I needed.
Brenda - we are taking this trip this September - 2022. The way we’ve read Day 10 is that it’s a free day and so we are planning our own visit to the Murano Glass Factory. Haven’t figured out how yet - thinking we will ask our tour director on Day 1 if he/she can help us set it up in advance and if not, we’ll find a tour to book on our own. Happy to let you know how it goes! (This is our second trip to Venice where we’ve done a lot of exploring on our own, so we are def going to Murano!)
When we went to Venice (about 13 years ago). Our TD offered us the opportunity to go to a glass factory right near St Mark’s Square. Her advice was not to spend our free day at Murano, but to “get lost in Venice”—it’s an island so you can’t get too lost. Many of us went with her in the morning to the factory, saw a demonstration, and then proceeded to walk our feet off around Venice. We loved it and were really glad we took her advice.
Like Jan, our TD took those who desired to a shop near St, Marks Sq. They had a large retail area with some really fantastic stuff and also a small workshop where they did a glass blowing demonstration for us. For bigger places you will need to go to Murano, along with a lot of other tourists. You'll see more and bigger retail areas and workshops. There are a number of them so I wouldn't waste my time on a tour. You can take a vaporetto (water bus) there and also stop at a few other islands- Burano where you can see the very colorful houses and buildings and stores that make and sell needle lace, and/or also go to Torcello which is most famous for the very old Cathedral of Santa Maria Dell'Assunta built in 639 if you haven't seen enough of them on the 'ABC' tour.
Thank you for posting the photos of the glass Alan. Most of those would not be to my taste. I blew up the one before last to look at the price too, 2,300 Euros! Everyone, please don’t forget you can only bring a certain amount of duty free goods back into the US, I think it is $800 worth each…please check that figure, it may have changed. If three are two of you, you can combine the amount. Always have receipts handy. Of course it’s up to you whether you declare things or not. If you get caught, you can be fined and have the item confiscated too. I’ve seen that happen when I lived in the UK but not here. I always declare purchases but have never bought enough to worry about paying duty.
On the Venice and Dalmatian coast tour in 2016, a tour of the Murano Glass Factory was included in the itinerary. We visited both Murano and Burano as that part of the tour.
Thank you, everyone, for your insightful comments. And Alan, thank you for the beautiful photos. I think I'll be calling my TA today to reserve our spot for next September!
While some items are beautiful, most except the fine glassware, are a bit over the top for our tastes and would be destined to the "been there" curio cabinet. And some, like the jesters are downright creepy!! Most of the larger more reputable shops provide guaranteed shipping, that saves worrying about breaking it on the flight- in carry-on, you certainly wouldn't want to put any of these pieces in checked baggage!!
As to Brenda's original question, I suppose a workshop or two may occasionally do a few pieces of stained glass, I've never seen it in shops, they mostly do blown glass items.
In case anyone is interested in another uniquely Venetian, but dying, craft- when I checked a few years ago before our tour, there was only one gondola workshop that was open to tourists, but it had very limited hours. Being a woodworker, I wanted to go there, but timing didn't work out. I saw a TV show once about Tom Price, an American gondola builder. The art of gondola making has been traditionally passed on from father to son but Tom, who is from NC, managed to wrangle his way into an apprenticeship, and eventually, due to his craftsmanship and boat building skills, got hired and I believe eventually started his own shop. Most of the articles about him require a subscription, but I found this short blog https://veniceblog.typepad.com/veniceblog/2004/05/an_american_gon.html
My last time in Venice was very short so I stayed an extra day, took a vaporetto and visited Murano, Burano and Torcello, also took another vaporetto that went straight to St. Giorgio Maggiori which was worth visiting.
Gladys, we are visiting Torcello and Burano on the tour, but not Murano. I'll certainly make a note of St. Giorgio Maggiori. Thank you.
Brenda, note there is also a Murano Glass Museum. And yes, I'm a broken record (remember those?), but for any glass enthusiasts visiting this year, the Glasstress Biannale show is a must.
furiously making notes on the Murano Glass Museum Oooh, thanks for this. We'll be sure to get this on our "must do" list. Since Glasstress is in 2022, I have to wonder whether there will be one in 2023, since it looks like they skip every other year.
The Dale Chihuly museum is my favorite in Seattle!
Biennale means every other year, or every two years, lol. With Covid, schedule was thrown off. I was there in 2019. Interestingly, there have been several Glasstress shows in odd-numbered years in Boca Raton, though I haven't been able to find one for 2023.
We just put a deposit down for September 2023. Yay!!
Alan - we did a 10 day Venice, Florence, Rome Tour with Rick Steves a few years ago and one of our tours in Venice was at a father/son gondola shop- it was fascinating and one of everyone's favorite things in our 10 days. We did see the cathedral at Torcello and Burano - we just love Italy. We never made it to Murano. We stayed 4 days Pre-Rick Steves Tour at an incredible B&B and they recommended local glass shops that we visited and bought earrings and cute venetian glass necklaces. We are booking the Tuscany and Umbria Tauck Tour in 2024.
We purchased a quality piece of glass at the factory near St Mark’s. As advised by the seller, it was classified as an “original piece of art” and was not subject to duty. They did a great job of shipping it.