Murano Glass: History without the Hard Sell

Experience the fascinating story behind the art glass of Murano in a multifaceted tour for €16,50

Too, too many travelers cruise into town, having heard something about Murano Glass, perhaps reading a blurb in their guidebook, wondering whether it would merit a few precious hours of their limited time to delve further. Up to now their choices have been either a “free” taxi offered along the Riva or at their lodging (never recommended), hiring an expensive private guide, or visiting on their own and hoping for the best. If you don’t know filigrano from sommerso, Seguso from Tagliapietra, or murrine from conterie from perle…where do you start?

Never fear, you now how have a quality, reasonably-priced alternative for discovering the fascinating, multi-dimensional beauty of Murano art glass. The Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia has teamed up with the Abate Zanetti Scuola del Vetro to offer GLASS in ACTION, an in-depth, multifaceted look at the Murano glass from its origins to the present day.

This creative tour recounts the story of glass “in reverse.” You’ll begin at the Museo del Vetro, viewing glass artifacts from ancient Rome, an extensive representation of the glass making process, the finished works of Renaissance Murano, and the expanded creativity modern masters, in all of their skillful and artistic complexity. You’ll then “return” to experience glass as artistic medium, “molten mass, unformed and uncolored,” at the Scuola del Vetro, for a glass working demonstration with a master vetraio, and the viewing of a short documentary film.

The image of Murano and its glass have suffered in recent decades with scandals of non-stop corruption, imitation glass, price-gouging, and more. It’s a pleasure to see the Musei offering the traveler the possibility to learn more about an art form that is as compelling for its history as it is for the beauty and variety displayed in the artisans’ works.

Perhaps it will become as popular as the Doge’s Palace Secret Itineraries, who knows?

GLASS in ACTION

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:30 (In English, check site times for Italian and other languages)

The €16.50 fee INCLUDES
. admission to the Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum)
. 40-minute museum tour with a specialized guide
. glassworking demonstration
. screening of documentary film at the Scuola del Vetro furnace “Abate Zanetti”

No need to reserve in advance, however: you must book the second half of the visit (the furnace) at the ticket office immediately on arrival for the Museum tour.

Questions and info:
. call center 84 80 82 000
. from abroad +39 041 4273 0892

images courtesy Musei Civici and the Scuola di Vetro

VeniceConnected: purchase up to 4 days in advance

VeniceConnected.com was first introduced to allow visitors to obtain significant discounts on transit passes, museum entrances, and more if they were purchased in advance from their website. In the beginning, travelers had to decide and purchase at least two weeks in advance of their arrival; it wasn’t long after that the advance-purchase time was reduced to seven days in advance.

Now, getting those discounts is even more convenient: purchase up to four days in advance and they’re yours.

They’re substantial, too — so if you know you’ll be visiting certain museums, riding the vaporetto (you will), or taking advantage of the other services they offer, you have even more time to make up your mind.

For more info and to make your purchase, see VeniceConnected.com

A Free, Christmas E-book from Dream of Italy

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Just in time for the holidays, Kathy McCabe at Dream of Italy has put together Christmas in Italy: Traditions, Travel Tips and Recipes, an e-book free for the downloading. Says Kathy, “This 35-page guide… includes all of our back content on spending the holidays in Italy as well as plenty of new articles on how to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Italian-style, whether you are traveling or staying home.” She included an article I did for her on the holidays here in Venice, but there’s much more.

To receive your free, downloadable e-book, all she asks is that you subscribe to the Italian Dreams mailing list. Your download link will appear in your confirmation e-mail.

Buone Feste!

Venice Island Concerts, Aug-Sept 2009

A Little Night Music, from

Picture 1.png The Municipalità Lido-Pellestrina

FESTIVAL INTERNAZIONALE della MUSICA

12th EDIZIONE • SUMMER CONCERTS 2009

ACCADEMIA MUSICALE ITALIANA

Direttore Artistico: M° Prof. Claudio Gasparoni

Entrance is €10 per person; concerts start at 8:30 p.m.

Here is the complete schedule; for additional information call 041 526 0399 or 348 20 3793.

For Donna Leon fans…

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Most Venice afficianatos can’t decide who they like more, author Donna Leon or her famossimo Commissioner Guido Brunetti — whose popularity rivals that of the Piazza San Marco itself.

In any case, you’ll be able to hear a rebroadcast of Leon’s appearance last April on KQED’s City Arts and Lectures tonight, at 8 p.m. PST, and again at 2 a.m. the following morning. If the time difference makes it inconvenient to listen live, I hear there are ways to record streaming audio…

From the KQED site, just click on 200908041548.jpg Listen Live.