Lonely Planet Writer

The Venice Glass Week makes its debut this September with events around the Lagoon City

The city of glass finally gets to showcase its world-famous craftsmanship with glass works by international artists.

The Venetian, Italian island of Murano has specialized in glassmaking for centuries.
The Venetian, Italian island of Murano has specialized in glassmaking for centuries. Image by Bill Heinsohn/Getty Images

Venice has been renowned for its superior glass production for centuries, so it was high time the city had an international glass event. From September 10 to 17, artists from around the world will be exhibiting works produced in tandem with the master glassblowers of Murano. Participating organisations include major players such as the Glass Museum on Murano and the Stanze del Vetro on San Giorgio Maggiore, hosting an exhibition by US artist Pae White. Other events around the city are Glasstress at Palazzo Franchetti, with works by world-renowned artists such as Ai Weiwei.

Venetian glass as you haven't seen it before.
Venetian glass as you haven’t seen it before. Image by Jo-Ann Titmarsh

Some exhibition sites allow you to enter private palaces normally off limits. Beauty and the Beast at Palazzo Tiepolo Passi hosts two artists, one of whom is Judi Harvest. Her Propagation exhibition focuses on the seed vault in Norway and her passion for bees (in 2013 Harvest installed a bee garden at the glass factory on Murano where she works alongside the glassblowers to produce her works). Judi states: “my work is concerned with the fragility of life and the search for beauty”. The showcases full of intricate glass seeds and plants are testimony to this and to the precision and delicacy of Venice’s master glassblowers.

Small, independent curators and galleries are also participating, such as Francesca Giubilei and Luca Berta, who run Veniceinabottle and who are curating no fewer than four shows at their Via Garibaldi gallery and around town. Francesca Giubilei says: “I think that Venice Glass Week is important because in order to […] bring glass to a wider audience, we need to think in terms of community… I hope The Venice Glass Week will become an annual event that no glass lover would want to miss!” So, ignore the tourist tat and head to one of the many exhibitions around the city to witness the many glass wonders on display during The Venice Art Week.

By Jo-Ann Titmarsh