Every year, on 6 December, the people of Murano gather at the church of San Pietro Martire to celebrate San Nicolò, the patron saint of glass makers.
Following an age-old tradition, the master glass makers, their assistants and their respective families celebrate their patron saint with a High Mass, “Messa granda”, that ends with the distribution of “San Nicolò’s bread”. For this holiday, the island’s bread makers bake a large loaf of bread in the shape of a knight and his horse, which is distributed during the Eucharist.
The sacristy of the church of San Pietro Martire is home to a true hidden treasure: the reredos of San Zuanne (Venetian for St John). A gem of Baroque wooden sculpture, carved between 1664 and 1672 by the genius sculptor of virtually unknown origin Pietro Morando, the series is made up of thirty-three allegorical, mythological and historical figures from Greek and Roman antiquity called telamones. These colossal male figures support wooden columns and alternate with episodes from the life of John the Baptist amidst frames, grotesques, modillions, putti and festoons of fruit and leaves.
The sacristy is also home to a delightful little liturgical museum filled with religious objects of every kind: reliquaries, candelabra, tapestries, monstrances, chalices and items for Holy Communion, all made of Murano blown glass.
The admission fee for the sacristy is only €1.00. If it sacristan is away, just leave your coin on the table.