Seth Doane has found a true GLASS ACT, just across the water from Venice:
The furnaces glow orange and belch heat. And at around 3,000 degrees, something almost magical takes place: a sand mixture melts and becomes glass.
The molten concoction can then, like candy, be squeezed, pulled or shaped. It’s a craft they’ve been perfecting on this Italian island for generations.
In this “glass Mecca,” there’s no mistaking the dominant industry, in store windows or street sculptures.
Adriano Berengo, who owns a studio here, said, “Somebody speak about the ‘secret’ of Murano, but to tell you, frankly, there are no secrets anymore. Glass is a chemical compound, so from the point of view of the material itself, there is nothing special about Murano. What is special is still the ability of the craftsman.”
That ability is also on display at the nearby fornaco, or furnace, of the great glassmaker Archimede Seguso. Few words are said; the glass speaks in how it moves and hardens. It’s a silent symphony. In fact, the lead glass blower is called maestro.
The finished product commands a high price. One piece retails for more than a thousand dollars.
Gino Seguso’s father was a master. “Oh yes, a master of the masters!” he said.
Upstairs from the workshop, Gino showed Doane some of his late father Archimede’s work, many of which have been featured in museums around the world.
Murano has set the trend for centuries, and the Seguso family has had some practice. They’ve been at it for 650 years — that’s 25 generations.
So how did Murano become this island of glass?
“Murano was an industrial settlement,” Seguso explained. The city of Venice was mostly made from wood, and Venetian glass factories regularly caught fire, he said. So, by…