I suppose one of the perks that should exist in luxury hotels is free stuff. Theoretically, I fully understand it ain’t free, I am paying for it, but I like to amuse myself that I get free stuff when I spend the extra cash to treat myself to a luxury hotel experience.
In Hotel Danieli’s case, when you walk through the entrance, bar, and many of the hallways, you will see the work of Venetian artisans on display – especially Murano glass. Simply by asking, you can get a “free” private taxi to and from one of these glass factories, get a private tour, and viewing of the showroom. Many, not all, of these glass dealers do not sell their wares on the commercial side Venice, so you have to get to the factory in order to see/purchase the goods. I might have been in the market for some wall sconces, and my roommate might have been in the market for some statement artwork, so we decided to take the Hotel up on their “free” offer.
We were immensely humored by the statement that there was a traffic jam, and our taxi was waiting to get in. The concierge wasn’t kidding when he said traffic jam. As we understood it, there is a love-hate relationship between the taxi drivers and the gondola drivers.
We further laughed at the notion aside from our taxi driver from the airport to the hotel, every time we got a taxi, our driver was OK looking, but the next taxi waiting to get in was driven by a super-hot Italian guy.
Hey, girls can look, can’t they?!
No matter how many times I visit Venice, I am somehow in awe and slightly humored by the traffic. Yes, I know water is the only mode of transport on the islands, but it somehow still makes me smile. I suppose it’s the little things for me some days.
We were taken to “one of the oldest” glass factories on Murano. Yep. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that line before from the other “oldest” glass factories I’ve visited when I stayed at Hotel Danieli. The Hotel deals with the higher end glass factories in Murano, and they send each patron to a different factory to spread out “the love” – all these factories make genuine Murano glass – slightly different styles and techniques, but the end result is gorgeous Murano hand blown glass. It’s a matter of seeing something that strikes you.
I mean no disrespect in the above commentary, other than to say, look… they’re all old factories. This is an art-form that’s been handed down from generation to generation, some of the glass blowers starting their apprenticeship as early as 14 years old. Some glass factories have more reputable names than others, but this matters only in the world of art collectors…congratulations if this is an arena in which you dabble and you can define one high-end glass blower from another.
In my humble opinion, it’s a matter of finding a piece you love, not necessarily the name on the glass…unless you’re a hard-core collector, which I am not. I see something I like, and that is what matters. Years ago when I first visited Murano with my husband, we purchased a chandelier from some random glass factory we stumbled upon whilest in Murano. We couldn’t have cared less about the name, we loved the piece. This is the centerpiece in our dining room, it shines brightly and beautifully, and is a constant memory of our time together there. Couldn’t tell you the name. Actually, couldn’t care less. When I told our guide this, he smirked, like I was a fool for not buying glass from his factory. He even went so far as to say, if glass wasn’t bought from his factory or another two he named, then it was nothing short of a waste of money.
Our guide was pretty snarky in his commentary about this. I suppose there are wars even in the glass world.
Forgive my digression.
We were treated to a glass blowing demonstration. Below is a slideshow of how hand-blown glass is made from start to finish. While the final product was made in about 12 minutes, it was trashed immediately after (OMG!!), since its quality wasn’t perfect. Our guide told us that a single hand-blown piece can take 2-5 hours to make, depending on the piece, and can take up to four people to make a piece.
Truly, an art form.
My roommate ended up getting some statement modern artwork pieces, but I couldn’t find any sconces that would’ve worked for my dining room decor. The design style in this studio wasn’t quite to my personal tastes – there were either dramatically bold modern pieces or “stuffy, fluffy” very traditional pieces.
Damn. I’m just going to have to go back and keep looking. LOL
After our private glass factory tour, we got another taxi ride from a gentleman who could’ve been Andrew Zimmern’s doppelganger, and he played us Andrea Bocelli the whole way to the train station; we were going to catch a high speed train to Rome, where we would meet up with our friends who’d decided to go to Florence for the day. Then…our crazy cooking adventures were to begin!
We saw there was a whole other vast side of Venice we hadn’t seen.
Note here: we upgraded to Business Class on the high speed train to Rome. Don’t think you’re really getting any treat here other than a larger seat and more leg room. There was a cart that passed us by and the gals basically tossed these at us:
The beauty of any piece of art lies with the beholder. Not the name of the company.