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The glass-making tradition in Italy is one of the most prestigious and predominant in history. Italian glass is synonymous with refined quality combined with rich color and cutting edge style, elements which began in the workshops of Venice.
Producing glass since the 8th century A.D., Venetian glassmakers rapidly rose to acclaim for their brilliant designs. The tradition itself absorbed from influences around the Mediterranean, Venetian glassmakers channel lush colors into their luminescent pieces, refining the art of glassblowing to yield remarkably transparent, almost ethereal, pieces. They also revived ancient Roman styles, such as the popular "Millefiori" pattern, as an homage to history but also as a means of continued innovation.
By the 16th and 17th centuries, Venetian glass had captivated the European continent, with their elaborate designs in high demand. This popularity continues to the present, a testament to which is the fact that tourists to Venice still stream through the glassmaking factories on the island of Murano, some of which have been in existence for generations.
The concept of blown glass, a crucial development for Venetian glassmakers, was first developed by ancient Romans around the 1st century B.C. who used a blow pipe to shape their forms
The island of Murano became the hub of Venetian glass production in the late 13th century when city officials, fearing fires in the heart of Venice, forced the factories to the more isolated location
"Millefiore," which translates from Italian as "a thousand flowers," was given to the floral design in the mid-19th century; prior to that point, it was known simply as "Murrine"