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What Not to Do in Venice

by Lee Marshall

Get talked into doing a "free" Murano glass tour

If your hotel concierge recommends a Murano glass factory visit with private water transport and glassblowing demonstration included, be aware that somebody is paying for the taxi driver's time (not to mention the concierge's cut). In the end, unless you have what it takes to resist a very hard sell in the factory showroom, that somebody is you. These visits always follow the same pattern: glassblowing (admittedly, a fascinating thing to watch) followed by a heavily supervised visit to the upmarket end of the showroom, where price tags on vases or chandeliers run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If you don't see anything you like, you will be directed to the "affordable" part of the store and pressured into buying an overpriced glass necklace, clown statuette, or other worthless gewgaw.

Do Murano yourself, and set your own terms

The quickest way to get to the glass factories is to walk to the busy Fondamenta Nove stop on the northern shore and hop on the water bus (line 41/42); boat services also run from San Zaccaria (near St. Mark's) and the train station. Some of the more reputable glass factories include Berengo Fine Arts (as much a contemporary glass art gallery as a glassmaker) and Archimede Seguso, famous for its delicate filigree vases (ring ahead for an appointment). If you want to see a real glassblowing demonstration rather than a perfunctory puff, sign up for one of the tours run by the island's Museo del Vetro, which include a 45-minute tour of the museum followed by a half-hour demonstration by a master glassblower.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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