refuge of those fleeing from the mainland looking for shelter from the Barbaric
invasions, Murano, originally known as AMURANIUM,
became prosperous, arriving at its splendour in the 16th Century. It has always been a self-governed centre, maintaining its own
administration with respect to Venice and enjoying a local government
administration, which uses ancient laws from 1272, under the jurisdiction
of a Podestà: at the end of the fall of the Republic it had its
own assembly; becoming the golden book of its original families, who took
delight in special privileges (the Venetian police were not allowed to
go ashore on the island), the minting of the oselle, that is the medallion/coin
which were gifted to the most important citizens (the name derived from
the fact that the Doges gifted birds to the most important citizens, which
were then substituted by these medallions). The laws, including the working
laws, were sanctioned from a mariegola (roll - register, list of people
belonging to a determined class – of the artisan corporations) created
to avoid revealing the secrets of the glass processing: in exchange for
keeping the islands secrets, the islanders enjoyed special privileges.
During its period of major prosperity, the island had 17 churches, convents,
charitable institutions and academies.
The island was chosen as the main industrial seat of the l’arte
del vetro dal 1291 (art of glass, 1291) because of two reasons: it is
positioned downwind in respect to Venice, therefore the rivers housing
the furnaces didn’t pollute the city’s air and secondly, to
avoid danger of fire in the central inhabited area. The activity is ancient,
but the true main impetus occurred when Venice came into contact with
the Saracene workshops of Syria, between the 11th and 12th centuries.
della colonna (waterbus stop).
dei Vereri following the coast of the homonymous canal: originally
witnessing the growth of the glass factories. Palazzo Contarini/Mazzolà
of the 16th Century – Gothic houses positioned on the two edges
of the shore.
Ballarin: from which the government bands were read, a lion
can still be seen situated on one of the columns.
the Fondamenta Manin and to the right, there’s
Viale Garibaldi (the target) with l’Ospizio
(charitable institution) for the widows of glass workers, the F:M
Piave theatre (famous author of operas: “I due Foscari”,
“Rigoletto”, “Traviata,” all for Giuseppe
Verdi) and the lighthouse.
the left: Fondamenta di S. Giovanni Battista dei Battuti
the left: Fondamenta Antonio Colleoni.
the end: Campo S. Stefano, and a long established
osteria (bar) “Taverna di S. Stefano”.
S. Pietro (bridge) and homonymous Chiesa
(church) with its doorway and bell tower dating back to the beginning
of 6th Century, the Vera da Pozzo of 1348
back to the foundations of glass, at no. 139 there’s a small
8th Century Pharmacy, adorned with paintings of Fontebasso.
(8th Century artist between rococo and neo classicism).
Vivarini, called “long bridge” from which you
can see the Palazzo da Mula, to the left, being one
of the largest factories of Murano, with Gothic memories and 6th Century
the bridge, on the right, Fondamenta Cavour and Fondamenta
Giustiniani, with the homonymous Palazzo
(Palace), today’s main branch of the Museo Vetrario.
in campo S. Donato housing the Basilica di
S. ti Maria e Donato monument, built in the Venetian-Byzantine
period of the 12th Century, not far behind S. Marco.
Probably built in the 7th Century and dedicated to Saint Maria, adding
the title of Saint Donato from 1125, after his relics were transported
from Cefalonia. The date, 1140, visible in the mosaic flooring, indicates
the church’s completion. It was restored between 1858 and 1873,
and in more recent times, restored to its primitive form. The hexagonal
L’abside (apse) with false arches joined by
columns and overheard galleries, is one of the highest examples of
the Veneto-Byzantine architecture. The Façade,
with origins from Ravenna, is basilican in shape.
The interior is laid out like a cathedral, with three
naves divided by five columns with Corinthian/Byzantine shrines. The
Ceiling is wooden like a “ship’s keel”.
The flooring is a mosaic of marble polychromed glass
pieces, depicting ornamental motifs and symbolic bestial figures:
to the right between the 2nd and 3rd columns, two cocks support a
Fox: symbolic of vigilance which wins over cunning. Dating back to
1140, it’s contemporary with that of S. Marks. In the middle
circle, the Latin inscription reads “Anno Domini
Millesimo Centesimo Quadragesimo. Primo. Mense Septembri. Indicione
Quinta. In Nomine Domini Nostri Jesus Christi.
In the main apse, the Byzantine arch basin is preserved,
with only the Virgin, in the Orante
form (standing with open arms and hands facing the sky).
The CAMPANILE (Tower) is four-sided and has three
the S. Donato Bridge
go onto the Fondamenta Navagero, named after a historical,
humanist literary man, whose gardens were full of exotic plants, one
of the first botanical collections in Europe; a meeting place for
Venetian nobles to read the classics.
From here, you can get the boat for Venice.