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The History and Magic of Glassblowing in Venice

Venetian glass jewelry with the traditional millefiori design.

The beautiful floating city of Venice is one of Italy’s oldest and most famous. In addition to the gondolas and Carnevale, Venice is also known for its glassblowing. For your next European adventure, make sure that you don’t overlook this key element of Venetian culture.  Learn about the history and magic of glassblowing, and explore Venice with AESU!

The History

Glassblowing dates back to the Roman Empire, where it had a more functional purpose, designing objects such as bottles and flasks for pharmaceutical and domestic use. Venice was originally controlled by the Byzantine Empire before gaining independence, and with a blend of these cultures, Venice developed the craft of glassmaking as early as the 8th century, becoming a top producer of quality, artisan glass by the 1200’s. Advancements in technology and discoveries, such as the production of clear glass known as cristallo in the 15th century made Venice and the nearby island of Murano, the center of glassmaking of Europe. However, political dissension and competition from surrounding countries led to a temporary decline in glassmaking.

The Revival

In the mid 1800’s, the art of glassmaking started to be rediscovered in Venice. Among the most famous families in Venetian glassmaking is the Toso family, thought to be partially responsible for keeping the magic of the art alive. In 1854 the Toso family opened a glassmaking shop, Fratelli Toso, selling household glass products as well as recreations of the traditional artisan style.  Another famous glassmaker, Antonio Salviati, helped to reestablish glassmaking in Venice in the 19th century. His firm helped promote glass as an accessible form of art, and encouraged the public to collect glass ornaments and tableware.

Enjoy Venetian Glass Today

When you visit Venice, there are a number of opportunities to appreciate the artistry of Venetian glass. Some popular glassware that you will find in stores includes intricate goblets and stemmed glasses, vases, and even jewelry and figurines. The glass designs feature historic multicolored patterns, intricate filigree, millefiori (“thousand flowers”), and enameled glass portraits and depictions of scenes. Modern Venetian and Murano glass designs are adventurous with abstract shapes. You can also take part in the history of glassmaking first-hand. There are numerous classes for tourists, from basic decorating to professional glass blowing. 

Visit Italy with AESU

AESU offers unique, thrilling travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We are also able to design custom tours just for your group.

Experience Venice with AESU on the Euro Focus, Great Escape tours, and more!   

2020 tour dates and prices are now available and selling quickly! If you have any questions or want help booking your European adventure, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640, or fill out the contact form found on our website. Follow AESU on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 at 10:00 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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