I had been emailing back and forth with Andrea D’Alpaos, Murano tour guide extraordinaire, trying to set up something for Brenda and Linda with him. We finally got it. He met us right on the fondamenta and after the initial introductions we took the very crowded public ferry to Murano. He said his goal for the day was for us to see 3 techniques in Murano glass.
First stop after a bit of history about Murano, was the Massimiliano Schiavon workshop. This place is unique in their designs and also in how they work. The glass making is done in a team of 4 masters who take turns playing the role of master in a project. We were able to sit and watch them deal with 2 different pieces. The first was a creative piece which had broken during its creation. The men were frustrated and resigned to repairing it somehow. Fanni, the rep who was with us, (Brenda and I noticed her too cool shoes and glasses–she was so stylish!) said, “they’re going to throw it away eventually, but they must try something.” And they did. The next piece, which we watched from start to finish was a custom made, very big, golden vase with and American Flag on it. I would say it was my least favorite piece ever in Murano glass, but someone wanted it. It took a good hour for them to finish and we were able to learn every stage.
For a break from glass, we went into the San Pietro church where Andrea showed us the highlights, which includwd the sacristy surrounded by carved wood lifelike characters from the 1600’s. I loved hearing his stories of memories from when he was a boy growing up in this church and in the community.
Next stop is his personal favorite, what he calls the number one of traditional chandeliers. This place was not open to the public and I cannot remember the name but we did meet the woman who runs it (her office looked like a hurricane had hit it) and watched the meticulous glass work happening. They don’t have a showroom, but here are some of their pieces:
From there, Andrea really wanted to show us one more thing, so we walked to what looked like a warehouse. He said for us to wait there. Two minutes later he came back with a smile and said “Bingo” we can go inside. This is where they make the canes of color and patterns for the other manufacturers. It was mind blowing! They actually take the designed blob of glass (what we watched was to be a square rod of white and clear layers) and string it down a long walkway –up to 100 meters long! It stays hot for a little while but it almost as thin as spaghetti on these strips of boards on the floor.
We then went into their showroom where they have the canes as well very short, sliced pieces for sale in plastic bags. The colors were breath taking!
Satisfied with their first exposure to the Murano glass world, we said good bye to Andrea but not before he led us to a restaurant for a spritz and pasta with seafood lunch. And the sun came out! From there we got the ferry back to Fondamenta nove and came home for a rest.
After about an hour, Brenda was ready to go again so we walked her over to the little jewel box church, Santa Maria Mirocoli. It was past their closing time, but they still let us in to enjoy the splendor.
We then strolled through the hospital and came back to our neighborhood to get some more salad stuff. On our way home, we finally saw a lovely sunset.
This time we ate dinner across the hall in Linda and Brenda’s apartment. Act II of the bread, cheese, salumi, salad and copious amounts of red wine. We opened the Valpoliciella ripasso we’d bought a Milli Vini and I really liked it!
This was my 4th visit to Murano and it was the best! Thanks Martin girls!