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Since 1861, Murano’s glass-making prowess has been celebrated in Palazzo Giustinian, the home of bishops of Torcello from 1689 until the diocese's dissolution in 1805. Upstairs, eight rooms have beautifully curated displays of objects dating back to the 5th century BC. Back downstairs, rotating contemporary glass exhibits are on show in the Spazio Conterie just beyond the museum shop, which stocks a small selection of top-quality glass gifts, jewellery and art books.
From the glowing, back-lit cabinets of precious Syrian, Greek and Roman glassware in the Origins room, step into the Salone Maggiore (Grand Salon), where three enormous chandeliers appear to float beneath the frescoed ceiling in a room showcasing the Golden Age of glassmaking between the 14th and 17th century. Beyond, themed rooms diverge into glassmaking fashions – etchings, mirrors, table pieces and imitation porcelain made from opaque glass – and the vast and profitable industry of Venetian beads, which were traded worldwide.