Should You Take the Kids to Murano?

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Do Youthful Adventurers and Glass Really Mix?

Adults can find their way inside the Murano Glass Museum, but how will children fare? Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Adults can find their way inside the Murano Glass Museum, but how will children fare? Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The first time I make my way to Murano, the Youthful Adventurer, around 13 at the time, marvels at our vaporetto ride across the Venetian Lagoon and then fidgets as we visit glass shops on the island. I fear a massive shattering, shards of exquisite Murano glass exploding through the air. I purchase a necklace, some gifts for family, and we get back on that vaporetto too soon for my taste.

Windows beckon in Murano, but should travelers with children enter glass shops? Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Windows beckon in Murano, but should travelers with children enter glass shops? Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The second time I make my way to Murano, I am in the company of the Brawny Sherpa, who, like the Youthful Adventurer before him, does not share my fondness for glass objects in pretty colors. He does, however, like the vaporetto ride across the lagoon and the meandering walk we take as we find our way to the Murano Glass Museum. We are in no particular rush and are comfortable taking the long way. Rather than transferring to another vaporetto that will get us there more quickly, we opt for the scenic route.

Even handrails in Murano feature glass works of art. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Even handrails in Murano feature glass works of art. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

That’s the one that should be taken with the younger set. Entrance children with the boat ride from Piazza San Marco, then do some window shopping while walking the narrow streets and bridges toward the Murano Glass Museum. Many pieces in the museum are well-protected, but many are surprisingly accessible—meaning that children should only be brought here if they will be able to comport themselves appropriately near so many fragile works. It’s not for everyone. My own Youthful Adventurer would not have appreciated it even in his early teens.

Street art in Murano, Italy. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Street art in Murano, Italy. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Afterward, stop in at Chiesa di San Pietro Martire and admire the chandeliers, which are at a safe distance from high-energy adventurers of any size or temperament.

Will a visit to Murano with children be fun? Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Will a visit to Murano with children be fun? Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

As for shops . . . children can be delighted with the glass figurines; shopkeepers, perhaps, are not so much delighted with the children of prospective customers. It’s understandable, especially when some parents are, to put it politely, exceedingly permissive. Don’t let your kids destroy art works. Teach them how to behave appropriately in a glass store and, if they cannot, remove them from the premises. It’s not hard. The Youthful Adventurer and I did not linger, as much as I personally wanted to, because his attention span and his energy were not good matches for shops full of fragile glass.

At Chiesa di San Pietro Martire in Murano, a glass chandelier is at a safe distance. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

At Chiesa di San Pietro Martire in Murano, a glass chandelier is at a safe distance. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Should you skip Murano if you’ve brought the children along? Not necessarily. The young at heart will enjoy the vaporetto ride, the spooky-looking San Michele Cemetery Island, and a walk around Murano. As a parent, you will need to judge what your children can handle. Intervene if it becomes clear that your children cannot be sufficiently cautious when near fragile glass objects. When the youthful set tires out a bit, stop at an outdoor café for refreshments before jumping on a vaporetto and heading back to the big island.

Murano Glass Museum, Fondamenta Marco Giustinian, 8, 30141, Murano

Chiesa di San Pietro Martire, Campiello Michieli 3, 30141, Murano

—Lori Tripoli

A vaporetto brings travelers close to the walls of Cemetery Island in the Venetian Lagoon. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A vaporetto brings travelers close to the walls of Cemetery Island in the Venetian Lagoon. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

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