Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Memories of Italy

A couple of years ago I went to Italy on a vacation. The country was incredible, steeped in history and beauty. While we saw some very special sites, one of the very interesting things we did, and an experience that stands out for us,  was seeing the beautiful island of Murano near Venice. This very beautiful quaint island is known for one thing - blown glass. Who hasn't heard about Murano Glass? We went to a factory and watched a man create a beautiful piece of art. He was in his 70's and had learned his trade as a young boy. He truly made it look easy but clearly his 'art' was something that took many years to perfect. The show room, was nothing short of amazing, filled with so many different items hand crafted with pride but, the fear of it breaking in transit, deterred us from buying anything substantial. At the time, the person giving the tour told us that there were few factories like it left because of the machine made replicas offered at a much cheaper price coming from other countries.

This weekend there was an article in the paper about this very island and the dying art of making glass. It sounds like the situation has worsened since we were there and frankly it was sad to read. To truly understand the loss, one would have to see the island and fantastic items that are made there. These people are true artisans who pass this gift down through their families, from one generation to the next - yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a living at it .

We are now in a world of disposables. A world of  dollar stores, electronics, fast food and a love of 'sales' . Hand made art is rarer and rarer to find and is clearly not appreciated by as many as it should be. The next generation of people in Murano, will not learn this skill and will not want to. And so in a short time, this art will die. I will treasure the few small pieces I bought, just as I treasure my memories of that trip. For those of our readers who are planning a trip to Italy , I encourage you to take a side trip to Murano and bring home an authentic piece of history.

Happy Holidays to all of you. Wishing you all a peaceful and warm holiday season making special memories with family and friends.

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