I have just returned home from the most fabulous trip to Venice and Murano.
This was my first trip to Italy, and I have to say that it definitely won't be my last. We had beautifully hot weather, but with a nice cooling breeze. The temperature certainly encouraged lots of gelato eating, not that I needed much encouragement, it was delicious! The pizzas were fantastic too.
We took in all the usual Venice highlights, such as the Basillica, the Doges Palace, the Rialto and the Campanile, but not surprisingly, the real highlight of the trip for me was the day we spent on Murano. Murano is truly a glassy paradise! As well as being the most picturesque island you could wish for, it is wall-to-wall glass! There are enormous glass sculptures in the open air, and the canals are lined with shops selling beads, jewellery and all things glassy.
I visited Carlo Dona's toolshop and had a long chat with Carlo's son, Roberto. He is the nicest man, and spent ages talking with me about the tools he makes for glass artists. Then I visited Andrea Guibelli, and watched in awe as he expertly made one perfect hollow bead after another. He blows his beads using a technique I hadn't seen before, and I was fascinated. I could have watched him all day. I bought some beautiful hollow beads from him, and I'll post a picture of them once I'm organised.
Next stop was the Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum). It was really interesting to see that so many of the glass techniques we use today are identical to those that were used over a thousand years ago.
Finally, we visited one of the many glass factories and watched lamps being made.
The holiday ended far too soon, and I'm already planning a return trip!