Beyond Gondolas

Venice- dream destination for all of us. A blissful city with friendly people Venice is not just about Churches, Bridges, Gondola rides and boats, there is lot more to add to it. The beaches at Lido, the open market at Rialto Mercato and Glass blowing factory at Murano are a must visit.

Murano Island – A home to traditional venitican glass makers. It is said that a community of glassmakers moved to this Island in 12th century fearing the destruction of  Venetican Republic as the building were made of Wood and the procress of glass making could cause fire hazards. They dominated the world in the quality of glass making for centuries and their work is held high event today. Murano Island is a 20 minute boat ride from the city of Venice. The local transport vaporetti (water buses)  gets you there; you can also look out for a hawker who organises a trip to the Island in a private boat, they take you to a factory to show the art of glass blowing and finally open the door to a private collection of the artisans work.  I decided to choose the second option as it was the easier way out. The ride through the boat was simply amazing. Drops of water splashed on my face as the taxi glided across the vast blue canal. On my way was the San Michele Island which is famous cemetery and an intresting  fuel station for the water taxi and ships.  I had to hold  tightly onto the edges of the boat as I stood up experiencing the wind running accross my face.

The water taxi stopped as close as possible to the bank of the canal and I was received by a co ordinator who organised my personal tour of the demonstration factory and left me with the glass master to demonstrate his skills. He melted the silica powder in the hot furnace and used a steel rod to blow it from one end and create a desired shape of the melted silicon. Ten minutes of this blowing skills created a beautiful flower vase. As he was giving final touches to the vase, he placed a paper on the vase it caught fire immediately.After the demonstration the co ordinator took me to a showroom. I was stunned my eyes could not focus on one thing there were frosted and transparent  glasses in red , blue, green, Purple, fruits and vegetable, animals,  decorative pieces, dinner ware and lampshades.  I just walked from one room to another admiring these beautiful hand crafted sculptures. No doubt these were very expensive but if you were really intrested in buying any of them you could bargain get them even for half the price, and the services that I recieved was amazing, the salesman lured me by saying that they would accept card payments and also ship it to any part of the world. In the end just before the billing counter were some small and affordable products, I picked up a few to take it with me as a souviner .

I left the factory thoroughly satisfied with the tour on my way back to the island I spotted an another factory. I greedily tried my luck to see if I can get another glimpse, following the signs that said visitor’s entrance which lead me to a huge factory with 3 furnace and 6 people working in it. Italian men with well built muscles sweat off as they tried to create a world class product; they smiled at me as I saw them mixing colours and shapes to create a lampshade, I watched them work to my heart’s content, and finally left the place. As I walked out I spotted some huge cartons stacked in the corridor, these were finished products ready to be shipped to the rest of the world.

I soon reached the Island of Murano I spotted a huge artistic glass work on one side of the bridge. This blue coloured gaint sculpture is a gift to the island of Murano by the artisans living there. I also found numerous glass shops which had souvenirs like glass gongolas, boats, lampshades, show pieces, paperweights,beads, necklaces, glass jewellery. There were also some intresting stuff like colored fish in transparent glass aquariums or wrapped hard candies of multicolored glass. I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting along the bank of the canal dipping my legs in the water, eating a slice of pizza, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Ah! truly Venice, truly Italian, but all good things will have to come to an end, and so I headed back saying Grazie Murano.

Check out my pictures here..


  • vibha says:

    Intriguing!! I also saw your pictures. I never knew that glassware making is such a complex industry. It is amazing to see the paper catching fire on touching the hot glass… I can not imagine the temperature of that piece.

  • Nisha says:

    I have been to all these places and agree with you. I also saw some jewellery made at Murano glass factory. Putting silver or gold inside glass to make a perfect pendent was treat to my eyes. :)

    Did you go to Burano as well ?

  • Ram Dhall says:

    I have been to a glass making factory at Rishikesh many years back and saw the production line for Pepsi bottles. I remember having seen the red hot stuff turning into bottles, but didn’t realize that the process of glass making was so complex.

    Honestly, I didn’t have a faintest idea that the glass industry of such a magnitude existed at Venice. The travel books and even the movies show the beauty of Venice through its canals, gondola rides , churches and the shopping areas.

    Welcome aboard and please do keep on sharing your experiences.

  • vidya says:

    Thank you guys…

    @ Vibha – I loved every moment of the trip
    @ Nisha – Nope i din’t go to Burano :( I check your website and amazed at the amount of travelling you have done… I wonder how u managed it ????
    @ Ram- Glass factory in Rishikesh… intresting. The irony is that we so used to things around us that we never care where and how they are created……… Did u know Venice have beaches as well… Thinking i should write abt it tooo… :)

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Beaches at Venice !!!! This is a news to me.

    Grateful if you would write about these beaches, if possible with some pictures.

    Would await your next post.

  • Nisha says:

    Yes, I have travelled a lot & still doing it. Have just come back from solo backpacking trip to Thailand & Malaysia. :D

    Yes please, do write about Venice beaches. Which islands ? I saw some good ones in Lido. :)

  • Shiyam says:


  • nandanjha says:

    Welcome aboard Vidya !!

    I can see that some bonhomie is already in development with Nisha. :-) Probably that what this site is all about. Finding more Ghumakkars who can read our stories and make us travel more.

    My knowledge of Venice is zilch so big thanks for taking me to off-beat Venice.

    More as I read the story again.

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