Image by Marco Secchi Getty Images
Since 1861, Murano’s glass-making prowess has been celebrated in Palazzo Giustinian (the seat of the Torcello bishopric from 1689 until its dissolution in 1805) and renovations finally do justice to the fabulous collection. On entry a video geeks out on the technical processes innovated on Murano, while upstairs eight rooms have beautifully curated displays of objects dating back to the 5th century BC.
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, colour-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.
Back downstairs, rotating contemporary glass exhibits are on show in the Spazio Coterie just beyond the museum shop, which stocks a small selection of top-quality Murano glass gifts, jewellery and art books.