Murano Glass History and Goblets

We know that Italy is famous for its luxurious decorations and of course the high quality handmade items. So that’s why in today’s article we are going to talk about the Italian styles of decorations, but not any, we will mostly focus on the traditional and old styles, which one famous Italian city is filled with. Yes, of course, we were talking about the grandeur floating city of Venice.

So when we mention Venice, I know what comes in mind, canals, gondolas, and bridges, but some of you might know that Venice is also popular for the creation of one of the oldest and unique glass figures – Murano glass figures. This type of glass making is very old and has been mainly concentrated in the Venetian island of Murano since the 13th century. Where back then it was decorating one of the oldest Venetian Palazzi (Palaces).

Murano Glass History and Goblets

So let’s talk a little bit about Murano’s history. In the 1200s this Island, which is around 2 kilometers from Venice, or should I say combination of a lot of small islands, has become very popular amongst the nobleman where they would build their palaces. The island was so beautiful that some people considered it a paradise. On the side of the glass making, the glassmakers firstly worked in Venice, however due to one too many fires, as the glass is made in special furnaces that are prone to fire, and Venice is a crowded city with a lot of wooden houses, it was decided to move the production to Murano. This was out of advantage to the higher-ups in the Venetian rulers – or the Venice’s Council of Ten, because now the secret of the Murano glass is kept in an island where there isn’t a mainland road, the only way to get there would be rowing a boat for an hour or so from Venice. They were so serious about it, that they forbid the Murano glass artisans to leave the island unless it was approved by them, however of course they gave these artisans a lot of extra privileges, even they considered their children as noblemen. Aside from that they allowed them to rest for 5 months when it was too hot, and perform maintenance and service checks to the furnaces.

So that was the beginning, now let’s speak about it’s golden age, which was the 16th century. With the years the uniqueness of the Murano glass spread around the continent, and Spain, the Spanish Indies, the German-speaking states, and Ottoman Turkey became very fond of this type of decorations. Back then there were at least 28 glassmaking furnaces that were taking all the load. If you are the historic type, some of the collectors of Murano glass were Pope Clement VII, Henry VIII of England, Francis I of France, King Ferdinand of Hungary and Philip II of Spain.

So let’s briefly touch on the types of Murano glass decorations, the collection is very broad and ranges from Vases, Centerpieces, Goblets, Mirrors, Sculptures, and much much more. As we were talking more about the old ages in this article, let’s talk about what was famous then and is still considered a high quality Murano glass decoration today – the Murano glass Goblets.

These goblets can be categorized in 3 categories: Decorative, Luxury, and Medieval. Most of the forms and how it’s made comes from the 16th century (the Golden age of Murano glass), when all of the royal families around Europe were buying Murano glass goblets to add an extra touch of beauty to their palaces. All of the styles give a very luxurious look to these goblets, mostly due to the way the glass is made and the colors are gotten. All the artisans that are making them are skilled professional, which got the secret of Murano glass making by passing it from generation to generation, from father to son. The colors specifically are gotten from mixing minerals into the glass mix, and each mineral gives out a beautiful color. Some of the figures even consist speckles of gold and silver, which of course increases their value.

There were many tires of stealing the Murano glass technique, so to protect the artisans of Murano, the Veneto region came out with a Trademark of originality and a law which forbid any glass figure to carry it unless it was made in Murano by Murano glass artisans. So if you are looking to buy a Murano glass goblet or any kind of Murano glass decoration, make sure to look for this Trademark of Originality. Nowadays, you don’t have to go to Venice to buy a Murano glass decoration, there are few authentic websites which are selling it, such as, which provides the highest quality Murano glass decorations that are up to date.

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