The first time I visited Venice as a wide-eyed teenager, I knew I was supposed to buy Murano glass, but I had no idea why. 

All I knew was that I was whisked to the famous “glass island” on an overcrowded, stinky boat. I waited behind two dozen American and Japanese tourists to pay an exorbitant price for a little glass fish—what a bewildering experience!

Still, it was the artistic traditions of the world that lured me back and inspired me to study the great artists of the past.  Living in Europe and Latin America, I realized that in many places, centuries-old craft traditions are still living traditions.

So began my quest to discover craftspeople passing on a special kind of knowledge to the next generation. Join me and discover some the world’s most enduring artistic traditions.

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media. Laura has taught college-level art history in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed.

Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes Made in Italy and Made in Venice. Recently she has turned to fiction, bringing the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY, Benjamin Franklin, and a National Indie Excellence Award.


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