Murano is actually seven small islands connected by bridges, located about 1.5km north of Venice in the Venetian lagoon. All of Venice's glassmakers were forced to move there at the end of the 13th century, to protect Venice from fires but also to protect the lucrative glass trade and its secrets. Many glassworking techniques and innovations were developed here, and Murano glass became famous for its crystal clarity, vivid colours and high quality. Many of the old skills have been passed down through generations and are still in use today. There are more than 200 factories still operating on the island, many of them small and not open to the public. A few are open for tourists and people seem to erroneously believe that the whole island is one factory! Murano glass, also called Venetian glass, is glass that has been produced on the island of Murano or in the Veneto mainland region by a company that has its headquarters on the island. Once the raw material glass has been produced, it is fashioned on Murano and elsewhere into beautiful objects. Murano glass is soft soda lime glass, with a co-efficient of 104.
Most Murano glass objects are made in the Venetian area, and glass is exported overseas to be used in Pandora beads, for example. Glass is also imported into the area and sold as Murano glass, but beware, you get what you pay for!