'I can barely survive'

An Italian glassblower endeavours to continue her family’s 600-year-old glassmaking tradition, even as her dream of home ownership fades.

An illustration of a woman blowing glass
[Jawahir Al-Naimi and Muaz Kory/Al Jazeera]
[Jawahir Al-Naimi and Muaz Kory/Al Jazeera]

What's your money worth? series from the front line of the cost of living crisis, where people who have been hit hard share their monthly expenses.

Name: Lucia Santini

Age: 63

Occupation: Glassblower

Lives with: A cat named Bella

Lives in: A two-bedroom apartment on the Venetian island of Murano, Italy. Lucia’s first-floor apartment sits above her studio, which doubles as a shop. Lucia does not pay rent because the two-storey building is owned by her mother.

Murano, historically important for its glassmaking, is home to more than 100 glassmaking studios and factories. The factories are called “fornaci” after the glass-producing furnaces they house. The island is a 20-minute ferry ride from Venice, making it a popular destination for tourists.

Monthly household income: Varies between 200 euros ($225) and 1,200 euros ($1,349) depending on her commissions. The median income in the Veneto region is 4,130 euros ($4,642) for self-employed people, according to 2023 figures from the Italian National Institute of Statistics.

Total expenses for the month: 1,105 euros ($1,242). Lucia often has to dip into her savings, earned while working for bigger glassmaking studios, to pay her expenses each month.

Source: Al Jazeera