Another perfectly clear and warm day dawned. Gino and I decided to hop a vaporetto and chug over to Murano. The ticket clerk told us to take #42 so we sat in the floating boat stop to wait for its arrival. As one pulled up, we lurched to the side, craning our necks to see what number had just arrived: #42. We hopped on.
As the city receded, our outside seats from the back of the vaporetto provided clear views of the various water vehicles ploughing the lagoon: a fire-fighting boat, a barge carrying a large crane, a wayward gondola far from the safety of the inland canals.
A few more stops and we pulled up to Murano.
The island of Murano has been famous for glass-blowing since the late 1200’s. Venetians shooed their highly revered glass artisans and furnaces out here to this island for fear of fire, safely away from the wooden structures of pre-Renaissance Venice.
Through the centuries, the glass-blowers have made this island their own, world renowned for their incredible glass creations. Today, glass shops line the small canal-side streets and a glass museum tells the story of this craft’s lofty history.
Near one of these canals, we came upon a large sculpture made of thousands of small pieces of golden glass spiraling around and around to form a glowing wheel.
Across the canal we found another quirky sculpture. This one was made of spiky turquoise and royal blue spears of glass, almost in the form of an abstract star. It was huge. After the trip, I did a bit of research and found that this very sculpture, called Overglass, had been later moved to Milano and was sitting on the auction block; starting bid: 175,000 Euro.
Gino is a great shopper. He enjoys combing through each and every shop as much as I do. So we did.
Stopping to watch a glass-maker sitting inside a glass booth in one of the small shops, we were mesmerized by his maneuvering of finger-thick rods of glass as he deftly formed them into recognizable items.
An idea struck — why not ask this glassblower to make us some colorful and unique napkin rings? I tried to explain to him what we wanted, but in Italian this wasn’t easy since I didn’t know the words for napkin ring. (Later I learned the word: portatovagliolo — say it fast three times!) But between my roundabout explanation and a bit of charades, he finally understood. We chose our colors and promised to return in a couple of hours to pick up our custom-made creations.
Then we went off in search of lunch.