Western Civilization owes a debt of gratitude to the many innovations that sprang from the islands in the Venetian Lagoon; art, architecture, sculpture, commerce, and banking are just a few. Another example is glass making, prominent there since craftsmen began turning out products as early as 450 A.D. The small islands that comprise Murano became the center for some of the world’s finest glass products – a reputation that continues to this day.
The early inhabitants of the lagoon’s 118 small islands were a far cry from the heyday that would become the Venetian Republic. But by 1000 A.D. Venice was on her way, and for glass makers, November 8, 1291 marked a significant date. The Venice governing council, headed by the Doge, dictated that the enormous furnaces required for glass making were a fire danger to a city built (at the time) mostly of wood, resting on timbers driven deep into a muddy lagoon. The order was given – relocate all the glassmaking studios to Murano.