Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. It lies about 1.5 km north of Venice and has a total population of just over 5,500. It is famous for its glass making, particularly lampworking. It was once an independent comune, but is now a frazione of the comune of Venice.
Murano was initially settled in the Roman times. From the eleventh century, it began to decline as islanders moved to Dorsoduro. It had a Grand Council, like that of Venice, but from the thirteenth century, Murano was ultimately governed by a podestà from Venice. Unlike the other islands in the Lagoon, Murano minted its own coins.
In 1291, all the glassmakers in Venice were forced to move to Murano due to the risk of fires. In the following century, exports began, and the island became famous, initially for glass beads and mirrors. Aventurine glass was invented on the island, and for a while Murano was the main producer of glass in Europe. The island later became known for chandeliers. Although decline set in during the eighteenth century, glassmaking is still the island's main industry. Murano's glassmakers were soon numbered among the island's most prominent citizens. By the 14th century, glassmakers were allowed to wear swords, enjoyed immunity from prosecution by the Venetian state, and found their daughters married into Venice's most affluent families. Some of the companies that own historical glass factories in Murano are among the most important brands of glass in the world. These companies include Venini, Ferro Murano, Barovier & Toso, Simone Cenedese and Seguso. Today, to protect the original Murano Glass art from foreign markets, the most famous glass factories of this island have a Trade mark that certifies products in glass made in the island of Murano. The oldest Murano glass factory that is still active today is that of Pauly & C. – Compagnia Venezia Murano, founded in 1866.
In the fifteenth century, the island became popular as a resort for Venetians, and palaces were built, but this later declined. The countryside of the island was known for its orchards and vegetable gardens until the nineteenth century, when more housing was built.
Attractions on the island include the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato (known for its twelfth century Byzantine mosaic pavement and said to house the bones of the dragon slain by Saint Donatus ), the church of San Pietro Martire with artworks by Giovanni Bellini, and the Palazzo da Mula. Glass-related attractions include the many glassworks, some Mediaeval and most open to the public, and the Murano Glass Museum, housed in the large Palazzo Giustinian.