I had a mission in Murano, and it was simple: acquire the perfect vase.
This might not sound surprising – Murano is, after all, known for its glass – but I’m not much for shopping during my travels. And though I would typically reserve my money for food, adventures, and accommodations, this was a special case. Years ago, I had visited Murano and purchased a beautiful blue vase for my mom – but always felt a twinge of regret at gifting the thing. The problem was, I adored that vase, and in the years since, it became something of a running joke, with me constantly threatening to steal it back from my mom. When it came time to return to Venice, then, I knew I would finally have the chance to score one of my very own. The timing was perfect too, as this was in September and I was getting ready to move to New York in October – the vase would be one of the first pieces to decorate my new apartment.
I boarded the vaporetto at St. Mark’s, excited to see what I would find when the boat docked in Murano. My last visit to the island, in 2005, was only a hazy memory, but I could have sworn that my friends and I walked right off the boat and right into the most perfect little glass shop, with rows and rows of gorgeous vases lining the shelves. Finding one of my own would be easy!
It was, to say the least, not. As it turns out, the trademark style of Venetian glass is millefiori, which…is not my style at all. The vase I had purchased for my mother was simple and modern, and that’s exactly what I wanted too – but that style was apparently in short supply on Murano. That’s not to downplay the Venetian glass at all – it’s gorgeous – but it just turned out that my mission would require much more of a scavenger hunt than I had bargained for.
In a way, though, my vase odyssey turned out well: it led me to what felt like almost every nook and cranny in Murano, and I as hopped from shop to shop (to shop!), I saw a lot of Murano along the way. The town is lovely, and I enjoyed catching a glimpse of many of its oh-so-colorful treasures.
And as for the great vase hunt of 2014? Mission accomplished. Though it took something like thirty shops, I finally found the vase – a piece of impeccably cut grey glass that sits on my bookshelf at home and never fails to remind me of beautiful Italy.