Glass flowers in Murano
Glass manufacturing is an ancient tradition in Venice. Since the year 1000, there has been evidence of glass manufacturing in the area.
Around the end of the XIII° century, the Republic of Venice forced glassmakers to move to Murano because they thought that if a fire ever happened, it could burn down the city's mostly wooden buildings.
The fame of Murano's exceptional glass grew all over Europe. What made Murano's glass unique, was that it was made with pure silica extracted from local quartz pebbles. The majority of the population in Murano were glassmakers and they were forbidden to leave the Republic, for fear that they would open their own businesses elsewhere or would sell the secrets of their unique style to other manufacturers in Europe.
Sand is an essential element for the creation of glass and naturally Venice has lots of high quality sand on its shores. Glass is made from several different substances: sand is the main element. It also contains sodium, calcium carbonate, sodium nitrate and arsenic. Other substances are used to colour it.
A interesting characteristic of glass is the way in which it is moulded and soldified. It takes a temperature of 1400°C to melt it and then a temperature of 500°C to keep the mixture fluid.
Glassworkers in Murano were, and still are, very experienced in manufacturing glass, and for this reason glass production is a key sector of Venetian economy, in addition to having great artistic importance.