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FINANCIAL-ITALY/MURANO
RTXB4RZ
February 02, 2009
Master glassmaker Simone Cenedese uses a blowtorch on a piece of commissioned work at his family's furnace...
MURANO, Italy
To match feature FINANCIAL-ITALY/MURANO
Master glassmaker Simone Cenedese uses a blowtorch on a piece of commissioned work at his family's furnace on the island of Murano near Venice January 27, 2009. Murano glass has been prized through the centuries for its refined beauty, but the credit crisis is threatening to shatter the fading Italian craft industry. Relentless competition from China and other producers and a strong euro that killed the U.S. market for its fine glass are the key culprits in cutting sales in half and the loss of about 75 percent of the sector's jobs in the last few years. But the financial crisis has dried up even the reduced sales at the glassmakers that line the canals of the Venetian island of Murano and raised stark questions about the future of the 700-year-old industry itself. Picture taken January 27, 2009. To match feature FINANCIAL-ITALY/MURANO REUTERS/Chris Helgren (ITALY)
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