Murano is a series of island that lie just of the city of Venice in northern Italy. While it was once an independent comune, Murano is now a frazione of the comune of Venice. While Venice may be famous for many things, Murano is known mostly for its long and rich history associated with glass making and lampworking. While Murano glass makers made many products using variations of glass and different techniques, they are perhaps most often associated with chandeliers. Murano chandeliers are famous all over the world, and designs with modern LED bulb technology continue to be made on the islands of Murano to this day.
Murano was originally settled by the Romans, and was also settled by the people of Altinum and Oderzo from the 6th century onwards. The island was initially used as a fishing port and a salt production centre, due to its rather obvious attraction of being in such close proximity to the sea. Murano experienced some bad times from the 11th century, when the population declined as people moved to Dorsoduro. However, the island had a stroke of luck in the year 1291, when all glassmakers in Venice were ordered to move to Murano and set up their factories there. This move happened because the Venetians were under the constant threat of fire, and the glassmakers who worked with extremely hot fire were the most obvious source of a potential problem. Unlike many other islands in the region, Murano minted its own coins and had its own Grand Council, even though it was ultimately governed from Venice. After all the glassmakers moved there in 1291, the island became famous for its glass work, and many original techniques were developed on the island. Some of the techniques that are known to have come from Murano include glass beads, enamelleddddd glass (smalto), crystalline glass, multicolored glass (millefiori), milk glass (lattimo), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), and imitation gemstones made from glass. Murano glass and Murano chandeliers are still being manufactured to this day, where they command a high price due to the authenticity and high craftsmanship involved. The oldest glass factory, Pauly & C. – Compagnia Venezia Murano, is still in operation today and chandeliers continue to be shipped all over the world.