By Laura Cunningham
Published November 6, 2009 12:15PM PST
Commonly recognized by its canal streets, gondolas and pigeon-filled piazzas, Venice, Italy is by far the most photogenic city I have ever seen. Every street corner, walkway, bridge and building is uniquely beautiful. The famous Baroque Piazza San Marco offers impeccable architecture and great people-watching. Aside from being picturesque, the city is also praised for its fabulous glass art.
While studying abroad in Italy, I ended up purchasing all my Italian gifts for my family in Venice. The tiny Venetian streets are lined with hundreds of shops where you can find silk, lace, souvenirs, designer goods and glass. The election of glass is infinite and every piece is beautiful. Many of the small glass stores have thousands of glass art displayed in their window; it is not difficult to find yourself window-shopping for hours.
During a recent visit, my family took a day boat-trip from Venice to the small island, Murano. This tiny island is where glass artisans retreated to when they were no longer allowed to work within the city of Venice, for fear of causing fires. With Asian, Muslim and various culture-inspired glass art, Murano may be considered the glass capital of the world. The town may be quaint and sparsely populated but it is certainly worth the visit. In Murano, there are several glass museums and artists that will allow you to watch while they create and design custom glass pieces. My family watched a man create a glass vase and a replica of the Ferrari horse. Afterward, we took a stroll through the artists' expansive glass shop; the pieces of glass art were incredible. Murano has anything you can imagine, recreated in glass.
Many of Murano's glass pieces are sold in the neighboring city, Venice, but to get the full glass art experience, you must visit the town itself. You must not leave the city without bringing glass artwork home with you. Venice prides itself for housing many incredible sites, but it is certainly a city made of glass.