Murano Glass

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Murano Glass, Murano Island venice ItalySet only few minutes of boat from the main islands of Venice, Murano Island has been the homeland of the masterful art of glassmaking in Italy for nearly 1500 years .

Murano was settled by the Romans, then from the sixth century by people from Altinum and Oderzo. At first, the island prospered as a fishing port and through production of salt. It was also a centre for trade, through the port it controlled on Sant’Erasmo. From the eleventh century, it began to decline as islanders moved to Dorsoduro. It had a Grand Council, like that of Venice, but from the thirteenth century Murano was ultimately governed by a podestà from Venice. Unlike the other islands in the Lagoon, Murano minted its own coins.

Early in the second millennium, hermits of the Camaldolese Order occupied one of the islands, seeking a place of solitude for their way of life. There they founded the Monastery of St. Michael (Italian: S. Michele di Murano). This monastery became a great center of learning and printing. The famous cartographer, Fra Mauro, whose maps were so crucial to European exploration of the world was a monk of this community. The monastery was suppressed in 1810 by French forces under Napoleon in the course of their conquest of the Italian peninsula, and the monks finally expelled in 1814. The grounds then became Venice’s major cemetery.

Murano’s reputation as a center for glassmaking was born when the Venetian Republic, fearing fire and the destruction of the city’s mostly wooden buildings, ordered glassmakers to move their foundries to Murano in 1291.

Murano’s glassmakers were soon numbered among the island’s most prominent citizens. By the 14th century, glassmakers were given the status of Patricians, allowed to wear swords, enjoyed immunity from prosecution by the Venetian state, and found their daughters married into Venice’s most affluent families. While benefiting from certain statutory privileges, glassmakers were forbidden to leave the Republic.

Murano’s glassmakers held a monopoly on high-quality glassmaking for centuries, developing or refining many technologies including crystalline glass, enameled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicolored glass (millefiori), milk glass (lattimo), and imitation gemstones made of glass.

Today, the artisans of Murano still employ these centuries-old techniques, crafting everything from contemporary art glass and glass jewelry to Murano glass chandeliers of which master Gianni Seguso is one of the most recognized representatives.

( source Wikipedia )

 

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