Monday, January 13th, 2014
Watching glass-blowing in Murano
Murano and Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Awake, arise, and embrace the new day. With a 9:00 AM departure time, we were all feeling at least a little more rested and ready for the day ahead of us.
The first item on the agenda was to catch a boat ride to the island of Murano, the Venetian center for glass blowing. We were fortunate enough to witness a glass blowing demonstration and the full operations of a glass furnace at work. There were once 400 active furnaces in Murano; now only 12 remain and that number is beginning to dwindle as teenagers choose to pursue other businesses.The process of creating a pice of glass is breathtaking. It is intuitively choreographed. Six workers collaborate as they heat the glass in the furnace and then twist and press it into shapes. They have only a minute or so before the glass hardens. Time is of the essence!
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
We traveled back to the main island for our afternoon excursion. The Peggy Guggenheim museum features modern art–mainly Abstract Expressionist and Futurist paintings. A room is completely filled with works by Jackson Pollock, featuring his splatter painted artwork. The museum, which sits on the edge of the Grand Canal, is filled with works that make you stop and contemplate. Sometimes you have only the title as a guide. We listened to a student give a presentation on the Italian Futurist movement and then happily wandered around for an hour or so, just taking in all the art and thinking about all of our wonderful experiences in Venice thus far.
After a long few days, we were given the afternoon for free time. Students set off throughout the city to go shopping, grab a bite to eat, or head back to the hotel to catch up on some sleep.
The day introduced us to the amazing world of glass art, to the fascinating world of abstract art, and, finally, gave us a chance to take it all in and reflect on our experiences. Tomorrow, we set off for Padova, where we will see the great Scrovegni Chapel (with frescoes by Giotto) and University, founded in 1222. Fantastico!