Murano: The island where Venetian glass was born ★★

A canal on the Venetian island of Murano
A canal on Murano. (Photo by Maurice)

Glass factories and gorgeous churches on the Venetian island of Murano

The island of Murano is the biggest of the three major islands in Venice's northern lagoon. It offers a sense of what Venice might have been like as a small village, well before the tourists invaded.

The docks and canals of Murano bustle with fishermen unloading the day's catch, its calle are heated by the furnaces of its many glass factories, an age-old tradition of this island and a craft that has long since spread to Venice itself.

The glass of Murano

Glass blower artisan at work in Murano
A glass-blower at work in a Murano workshop. (Photo by Son of Groucho)
Shoppers can head directly to the outlet stores—in fact, the quickest way here is on one of the junket boats from Piazza San Marco, though you'll have to suffer through a tour of some glass factory and a hard-sell at the end.

They take quality seriously at most stores on Murano, where you never pay the sticker price (bargain down to at least 2/3 of the asking price).

Even better, in many of the workshops glassblowers will create items, especially trinkets, for you on the spot.

The glass museum of Murano

The glass museum of Murano
The glass museum of Murano. (Photo by Tuen-Ping)
If you like your artisan craft with a bit of history, head to the Museo Vetraio di Murano (Fondamenta Giustinian 8, tel. +39-041-739-586,, where you can examine a large collection of glass objects from ancient Roman times through the 19th century as well as see displays on the history and practice of the craft itself, all in an appropriately orante, frescoed palazzo atmosphere.

The Murano glass museum is open daily: Apr-Oct 10am–5:30pm; Nov-Mar 10am–4:30pm. (Adm)

You can get in free with the Museum Pass.

The gorgeous churches of Murano

Chiesa di Santa Maria e Donato

The Basilica dei SS. Maria e Donato on Murano
The Basilica dei Ss. Maria e Donato on Murano. (Photo by Paulus Sapiens)
The truly ancient church of Santa Maria e Donato turns the gorgeous exterior of its apse to the canal so you can admire the stacked colonnades, dog-tooth molding, and inlaid Byzantine designs.

The mosaic stone floors in San Donato church on Murano
The mosaic stone floors in San Donato church on Murano. (Photo by Warburg)
The current structure was rebuilt in the 12th century, but its uses Corinthian columns that date from Roman times to the 6th century, a 6th-century pulpit, an amazing patterned floor from 1141 that rivals that of San Marco, and some 15th-century frescoes.

The church is by the main canal on Campo San Donato. It's open Mon-Sat 9am–noon and 3:30–7pm, Sun 3:30pm–7pm.

Chiesa di San Pietro Martire

Giovanni Bellini's Barbarigo Madonna altarpiece in the church of San Pietro Martire, Murano, Venice
Giovanni Bellini's Barbarigo Madonna altarpiece in San Pietro Martire.
To get away from the glass, visit the church of San Pietro Martire, filled with the unexpected riches of oil paintings by Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, and Giovanni Bellini and some lovely carved paneling in the sacristy.

The church is on Campiello Michieli 3 (tel. +39-041-739-704). It's open Mon-Fri 9am–7pm, Sat 11am–7pm, and Sun noon–5pm.

Lunch on Murano

Try the trattoria Al Corallo (tel. +39-041-739-636,, Fondamenta dei Vetrai 73.

Tips & links

How long does Murano take?

Planning your day on Murano: You could zip around Murano and be off to Burano in an hour, but much better to take at least two hours for this largest of the outlying islands.

Venice itineraries

How do I get to Murano?

How to get to Murano: In short: take vaporetto #3 from the train station or Piazzale Roma; vaporetto #12 from Fondamente Nove; or vaporetto #4.1 or #4.2 from San Marco. In detail, this can all get a bit complicated, and so is explained in detail on a separate page. » more

Which dock do I use?
Murano has five vaporetto docks. You usually land at Colonna or Faro; you continue on to Burano from Faro
Nearby sights & hotels
Venice links & resources

Share this page

Intrepid Travel 25% off


Useful links
Train tix

Shortcuts to popular planning sections:

Airfares, Cars, Trains, Tours, Packages, Cruises, Lodging, Itineraries, Info, Packing, Prep, Comm

Follow ReidsItaly
Follow ReidsItaly on Twitter  Join the ReidsItaly fan page  Follow Reids Italy Adventures blog