The Faro of Murano, San Pietro Martire and Museo del Vetro
The Faro of Murano
The Faro, or lighthouse, you see was built in 1912 but ever since the middle-ages there had always been a wooden tower on Murano, even if more inland. Today, of course, the lighthouse is powered by electricity, but in the past a fire would burn at the top by night, and bouncing off the lagoon water, it created a bright shimmering of reflections, which could be seen miles away, allowing ships to navigate with greater safety. By day, the faro, just like other important Venetian towers, famously St Mark’s Campanile, were used as lookout posts, to see when merchant ships were coming in or, somewhat more urgently, if enemy ships approached.
San Pietro Martire
The gothic church along the canal is that of San Pietro Martire, originally built in the late middle-ages. The naked brick simplicity of the façade is interrupted by the white Renaissance entrance door, above which is a large circular window. It is famous for its wonderful cloister on the other side, and inside the church are some famous pieces by the likes of Bellini and Veronese. Also striking is the imposing bell-tower, which holds three huge bells imported from England, famous for its bell-making.
Museo del Vetro
Glass-making is an ancient tradition, which Venice took hold of since its early days; however, it was in the 15th century, with the opening up of commercial routes to the East and to West Indies, that Murano glass objects became expensive, rare and coveted everywhere. Initially, Venetian glass pearls were what put Murano glass on the map, and were so treasured that they quired the function of coins in the Middle-east. From then on, Murano glass was one of the greatest sources of income of Venice’s wealth, which allowed it to dominate the trade routes for over three centuries. Unsurprisingly, the secret techniques of Venetian glass-making are to this day kept completely secret; however, you can learn a great deal with live demonstrations by a mastro vetraio in various glass laboratories in Murano, and especially here at the Museo del Vetro, a museum on the history and evolution of Venetian glass-making, told through a unique selection of beautiful pieces of any shape, colour and size.
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