‘Vetro a lume’ (Lampwork) are the oldest known works from the island of Murano (Venice). The term “Lampwork derives from the use, in the past, of a flame from an oil lamp.
The Master of Glass uses a gas & oxygen flame which is alight all day long reaching very high temperatures in order to fuse together different kinds of glass and create various combinations of shapes and colours. Transparent and colourful canes of glass merged together with materials such as Murrina, gold, silver and other precious materials make some pieces even more unique.
This is the most difficult technique seeing that ‘Vetro a lume’ (Lampwork) is a manufacturing process that has been handed down from father to son for hundreds of years. It is not common to see in these times young people who want to continue this work because it requires a lot of patience, a great imagination, great precision and manual craft skills. This type of processing technique is particularly suitable for its characteristics to create various types of creation such as animals, pearls, rings, pendants, necklaces, and other various jewels.
HISTORY OF THE ISLAND OF MURANO
Murano is an island of the Venetian Lagoon, in the North Adriatic Sea. Murano has 5.600 people living throughout the seven small islands crossed by canals and connected to each other by hundreds of bridges.
The first official document where Murano (Amuriana) is mentioned is dated back at 846 ac.
Its name comes from “Amurianum”, one of the suburbs of Altino, a roman ancient town once located within the Venetian Lagoon, of which inhabitants took refuge amongst the islands to escape from the Huns’ invasion in 453 ac.
During the crisis and the following decline of the Occident Roman Empire, there was a consistent population growth in the whole littoral zone as many people moved towards the coast to sneak away from the barbarian incursions.
In the 1295 a decree from the ‘Serenissima Repubblica’ forbade the glass manufacturing in
Venice due to the high number of fires that occurred and therefore the furnaces were moved to Murano giving rise to the great fame of the island, this was the only place authorised for the production of glass in the Venetian area at the time.
This exclusive right allowed Murano’s craftsmen to quickly become well-known all over Europe, creating objects of inestimable value which trade was guaranteed by Republic of Venice.
Murano reached its golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries: it had 30,000 inhabitants, 17 churches, dozens of glassworks, a number of fairs and workshops and a great many important international personalities, who went there to familiarise with and watch the glassblowing.
Through the 18th century Murano’s fate was coupled with the Republic of Venice fate. The Republic of Venice’s crisis reached a climax when in 1797 it fell to Napoleon and was subject to foreign rule. Murano, like Venice, was occupied by the French first and the Austrians later, which also generated changes in its urban layout: many historical building, gardens, churches and convents were demolished to make way for houses or glassworks.
In 1866 Veneto was annexed to the new Kingdom of Italy and Murano experienced a period of rebirth. However in 1924 Murano lost its autonomy as a municipality and once again became part of the Municipality of Venice.