Venetian glass is a glass product of particularly high quality, traditionally manufactured on the island of Murano, which neighbors Venice. The fame of Venetian glass is due to carefully guarded techniques which were developed during a period when glassware was still riddled with imperfections and was extremely difficult to make. Venetian artisans perfected the creation of glass, keeping their product famously clear and free of occlusions. The glass is still well known today, and artisans from all over the world travel to Murano to learn Venetian glassblowing techniques from masters of the craft.
In Venice, glass making artisans were highly prized due to their unique skills and the specialized techniques for making particularly high quality glass that they developed. In 1291, rising concerns about fire within the city of Venice drove the city to ban glass making within Venice itself, moving the manufacture of the city's famous glass to Murano instead. On Murano, the secret of how to make Venetian glass was closely guarded; artisans were not allowed to leave and set up shop elsewhere. Ultimately, of course, the techniques used to create Venetian glass spread to other European cities, which took up the manufacture of the high quality, delicate glassware that had made Venice famous.
Venetian glass is famously pure; the glass is totally clear, although the artisan may have introduced a pure, strong color to the glass. In some cases, Venetian glass is solidly colored, while in others, artisans have created a smoky effect with one or multiple colors. Venetian artisans were also able to make milk glass, glass with flecks of precious metals, enameled glass, and realistic imitation glass gemstones in a period where these techniques were unheard of in other regions. They dominated the glass market with their highly superior product until the 16th century, when other nations began producing comparable glassware.
Like all glass, Venetian glass starts with a base of silica which must be mixed with a flux and melted. The flux agent slows the solidification process of the glass, allowing the glass maker to manipulate it to satisfaction. Once molten, the glass can be used to form the well known Murano glass beads, chandeliers, and tableware which have kept Venetian glass famous for centuries. Glass makers on Murano still make glass in the traditional way, and visitors can see a glass museum with numerous samples of beautiful Venetian glass in addition to an overview of the history of glass.