The Meaning and History of Murano Glass

For centuries, Venice has been celebrated as one of the world’s greatest producers of fine art, music, theater, architecture, and many other cultural landmarks in Europe. In addition to the hundreds of artworks, buildings, musical compositions, plays, and other physical objects that still remain from its storied past, Venice has also given the world many different artisan techniques of design still used today. From the art of fresco painting to the beauty of Murano glass that traditional crafters still use today, Venice has given the world of art and culture much throughout the ages. POPPI Italian Leather is committed to supporting these traditions in our own way by partnering with glass artisans located in the heart of the Murano islands. Our hand-picked selection of pieces showcase the beauty, tradition, and history of Murano glass.

Murano crystal vase

The history of Murano glass begins in Murano, a chain of islands in northern Italy within the Venetian Lagoon. The islands themselves have a long history as trading ports, and originally prospered through salt production. The first records of Murano-made glassware go back to the 13th Century. Not only does Murano have a reputation for its stunning art-glass, it’s also be recognized for the development of groundbreaking techniques in the glassmaking process. In fact, Murano is considered to be Europe’s first center for high quality glassmaking.

 

After quickly becoming a coveted art form, Murano glassware advanced in quality and design over the next centuries. In the 15th century (dating back as early as 1453), Murano glassmakers introduced cristallo (crystal) glass, which was unparalleled in transparency. Even now, crystal glass is considered the highest quality glass worldwide. Soon after, Murano glassmakers developed lattimo glassware, made from milk-white opaque glass that mimicked the warm translucency of fine porcelain. Several other styles of glassmaking were created throughout the Renaissance that are still well-known and sought after today, including millefiori, sommerso, calcedonio, filigrana, and more.

 

In the beginning of the 1500s, Murano glassmakers began to fabricate glass that was critical to high-quality mirrors. The excellence of these mirrors quickly established Murano as the best mirror makers in all of Europe. By 1569, the islands had a guild specifically for Murano mirror artisans.

Murano colorful glasses

Due to several factors, including wars, external trade controls, some competitors, and more, Murano glassware declined in popularity and prevalence during the late 1600s to the mid-1800s. In 1866, Venice was incorporated into Italy, and Murano glass saw an enormous revival. Today, Murano glassmaking is recognized as an age-old tradition of Italian art that has both historical and cultural significance.

 

The selection of unique Murano glassware POPPI offers shows the coming together of modern, stylish designs with centuries-old mastership of the art. From our hand blown crystal ware, like this authentic bowl, to classic designs like these millefiori beverage glasses, POPPI has a wide selection of singular Murano pieces.

 

To learn more about our selection and the history of Murano glass, shop online or visit our store in Rochester, MN, today!