Island Souvenirs: Murano Glass and Venetian Masks

Murano glass is a famous product from the island of Murano in Venice, Italy. It is made from molten silica that is shaped to the desired design before it becomes solid again. The more sodium oxide present in the glass, the slower is the time for it to solidify. Artisans take advantage of this to add more complex designs to the product. Other chemicals are used such as sodium which determines the opacity of the glass, arsenic to avoid bubbles, and coloring compounds (copper for example, is needed to form the aquamarine color). The Murano glass makers employ different techniques and you can even watch them work in open shops. But the surest way to see them at work is to join a Murano Island tour. Some hotels offer free tours or arrange tours for a minimal fee.


Murano glass accessories
One of the many stores selling Murano glass items


Venetian masks are among the common products associated with Venice. They come in different colors and sizes, some even made the smallest possible with every detail of craftsmanship still apparent.

Masks are not just masks in Venice. Many years back, a small but rich city, Venice enjoyed a very high standard of living. During those years of unequaled economic gain, people concealed their identities with masks. Noblemen could be mistaken as servants and vice versa. They dealt with anyone with much confidence and without fear. The people, however, took advantage of this which led to all sorts of immorality. Daily wearing of masks was then prohibited and limited only to a few months each year. Gradually, the mask-wearing period is shortened to an annual festivity, now known as Carnevale di Venezia or Carnival of Venice.

Classy Venetian masks

Masks of different colors and sizes

14 comments:

  1. How very interesting.. So colorful. I always look forward to your blog. Thank you for commenting on my blog. Your comments uplift my spirits and I take time to realize how grateful I am to be ale to blog and meet new friends. I got my hair cut yesterday and oh how I wish I had thick hair like you. My mother and one sister had thick hair and of course 3 of my brothers.

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  2. That was something I didn't know - the Murano glass. I love your photos especially those of the mask. I've always really liked those mask. And thank you for stopping my my blog too.

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  3. Ohh!! Venecia, qué recuerdos más bonitos me trae tu bella entrada.
    Un beso y buen fin de semana

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  4. wow stunning photos and loving all the beautiful creations, x

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  5. What an interesting post - I love your picture of the shop will all of the colourful murano glass - it is so bright and colourful. :)

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  6. I adore Murano glass & used to watch every documentary I could on TV, years ago when I first came into touch with it. Beautiful!!!

    And those Masks, don't start me on those!
    The anonymity of it all. *swoons*

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  7. The Murano glass really fine, but I think the masks are a little bit scary to me :)
    The photos are very nice! Have a good weekend!

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  8. those mask are soooo gorgeous!!~~

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  9. A wonderful post Lea, Venice must be a wonderful place to visit,
    Thanks for sharing this with us making one feel they are there .
    Have a good week-end.
    Yvonne.

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  10. You just made my day, Lea. I think I've said before how much I love Murano. I have twice toured the glass works in Venice (on the island tours) and both times I have wandered round in total amazement at the colour and perfection of the goods on display.

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  11. Thank you so much, everyone for your comments. Have a blessed weekend! :)

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  12. There is so much to learn about Italy. I'm having so much fun getting the inside story from your fun and intriguing posts! Thanks Lea!
    Liz

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  13. So interesting! Would I have seen Murano glass in the States? The name is familiar. I do love items made of glass. And I did not know the story of the masks in Venice. The Carnival makes more sense now.

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