Thanks to its strategic position, Venice became not only a commercial hub, but also one of the greatest manufacturing centers of the past.
The Serenissima’s ships imported the best raw materials from all over the world at favorable prices, subsequently exporting the creations of its skillful artisans, working in the most varied sectors: from textiles to chemicals, from food to luxury goods. The partial isolation offered by the Lagoon was, moreover, a perfect condition to safeguard the secrets and the know-how of each trade, enforcing State surveillance on goods traffic and hindering industrial espionage. So it was that glassmakers, goldsmiths, weavers, furriers, blacksmiths, perfumers, violin makers, gunsmiths … contributed for centuries to the enrichment of Venice, filling the city with small and large shops, under the strict control of the Republic. Pampered with special treatments such as free accommodation, salary protections, patents and nearly aristocratic privileges, the craftsmen were however also subject to severe restrictions such as: the prohibition to obtain supplies from non-Venetian merchants, the obligation to work or reside in a specific place (e.g. the Arsenale for shipbuilders and Murano for glassblowers) or the ban on expatriation under the threat of severe punishment (including death penalty!).
To this day, many artisan workshops survive in the least-touristy Venice: small shops where you can barely move among hundreds of tools, jars and machines whose function is as mysterious as their age, and whose caretakers descend from that very “working-class aristocracy” of the past!
Let us then go and meet the Venetian artisans: together we can visit an original furnace to learn what made Murano glass so special, or maybe get lost among the ancient looms where brocades are still woven in gold and silver “middle-age-style”. We will have a look up-close at the creations of the last smithies, gilders, decorators, framers, jewelers, bead-stringers and mask-makers of Venice, or maybe visit a wonderful mosaic workshop or a lace atelier! It will be as if we had returned to the Venice of 500 years ago, the one you only read about in books… Most importantly, we will discover a whole new world, made of expert gestures and family secrets, that have been handed down from generation to generation… all the way to us!
Places of Interest
Metal work www.valese.it
Glass sculpting and engraving www.luigicamozzo.com
Artistic Marble www.dallera.it
Hand-embroidered laces www.dallalidia.com
DURATION: From 2h to 6h, according to your needs.
PRICE 1-4 PEOPLE: 120€ (2h tour), 180€ (3h tour), 240€ (4h tour), 360€ (6h tour).
EVERY EXTRA PERSON: +20€ per person.
PICK UP: Hotel/Port/Airport/Train Station or at the meeting point of your choice.
PLEASE NOTE: Prices do not include waterbus tickets (8€ per person one way ticket/ 20€ per person 24-hr-long ticket).