Murano glass is a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano. Located off the shore of Venice in Italy, Murano has been a commercial port as far back as the 7th century. By the 10th century, the city had become well-known for its glassmakers, who created unique Murano glass.
The process of making Murano glass is rather complex. Most Murano glass art is made using the lampworking technique. As the glass passes from a liquid to a solid state, there is an interval wherein the glass is soft before it hardens completely. This is when the material can be shaped.
The technique known as Millefiori begins with the layering of colored liquid glass, which is then stretched into long rods called canes. Two glassmakers each pull the glass as they walk in opposite directions. After cooling, the glass rod is sliced so that the pattern shows through each slice. Each slice of the millefiori Murano glass is called a murrine.
When cold, these canes are then sliced in cross-section, which reveals the layered pattern. Each layer of molten color is molded into a star, then cooled and layered again. When sliced, this type of murrine has the appearance of many flowers, thus mille (thousand) fiori (flowers).