I love beautiful vases. I have a collection of them in the lounge room that catch the evening light through the window. Of all my vases, the most prized ones are the ones I bought in Venezia when I was there in 2010. To be more precise, I bought them on the beautiful island of Murano, which is a boat ride from Piazza San Marco in the centre of Venezia.
Murano was quite a surprise. I’d been told by a Venetian friend to avoid it as it was like a Turkish Suq. However travelling in late autumn I found it to be picturesque, quiet and simply delightful. To me it was like a smaller and slightly poorer cousin of la Serenissima – but one where you could feel comfortable and at home. The reason I travelled to Murano was to buy some authentic Murano glassware. In Venezia, there are shops everywhere peddling colourful “Murano” trinkets but I wanted to be sure I was buying something made locally, by an artisan and totally authentic.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to the manager of Schiavon Glass, Annarita Schiavon, a delightful and classy Venetian lady who took me on a tour of the Schiavon warehouse, which was founded by her father. She lead me through room after room of vases, glasses, chandeliers, jewellery – just when you thought you had seen the most exquisite piece, another appeared before your eyes. Not only were there modern pieces, but also delicate antique glassware. I settled on a set of three clean lined vases with gold leaf through them. I took a photo of them on the shelf before they were packaged to be shipped back to Australia.
After shopping, we walked around the narrow calle (streets) and canals and marvelled at how quiet and peaceful the island was. We had a bit of lunch by the water and caught the ferry back to our little apartment in San Marco. I was terribly excited about my purchase. Now every time I look at my Murano vases on the shelf at home, I think of that glorious day on Murano.
As I am travelling back to Italy in less than a month, I will be returning to Venezia (perhaps to buy more Murano glassware) as well as staying at two agriturismi (agriculture plus tourism – a bit like vacationing in a farmhouse) – one in Veneto and one in Friuli. I look forward to sharing my experiences there with you. A presto!