Santa Chiara – The Glass Cathedral

Murano, Burano & the Northern Islands

There are authentic glass factories on Murano offering cheaper demonstrations and turning out far finer work, but this furnace – housed within a deconsecrated 16th-century church (founded 1231) – delivers an entertaining and highly informative experience tailored unapologetically to tourists. It has bleacher seating, musical accompaniment, a mirror ball and plenty of opportunities for photos of the handsome artisans at work. You might want to save your purchases for another shop, though.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Murano, Burano & the Northern Islands attractions

1. Faro di Murano

0.19 MILES

Murano's white lighthouse only dates to 1934, but it's a distinctive island landmark. It's not open to the public.

2. Chiesa di San Pietro Martire

0.22 MILES

Take a pause from glass shopping to check out The Baptism of Christ, attributed to Tintoretto, in 16th-century St Peter the Martyr's Church. The parish…

3. Museo del Vetro

0.42 MILES

Since 1861, Murano’s glass-making prowess has been celebrated in Palazzo Giustinian, the home of bishops of Torcello from 1689 until the diocese's…

4. Murano

0.42 MILES

Murano has been the home of Venetian glass-making since the 13th century. Today, artisans continue to ply their trade at workshops dotted around the…

5. Cimitero di San Michele

0.42 MILES

Until Napoleon established a city cemetery on this little island, Venetians had been buried in parish plots across town – not an ideal solution in a…

6. Basilica dei SS Maria e Donato

0.48 MILES

Fire-breathing is the unifying theme of Murano’s medieval church, with its astounding 12th-century gilded-glass apse mosaic of the Madonna made in Murano…

7. I Gesuiti

0.83 MILES

Giddily over the top even by rococo standards, this glitzy 18th-century Jesuit church is difficult to take in all at once, with staggering white-and-green…

8. L’Oratorio dei Crociferi

0.84 MILES

This plain almshouse is often overlooked in favour of the extravagant Jesuit church opposite. But the 12th-century Order of the Cross that founded it to…