The Art of Glass in Italy

Glass is magical! It is warm, dynamic, recyclable, and timeless. Moreover, due to its unpredictable nature, we still discover new ways to use it every day.

Intricate forms and beautiful translucent colors make glass an undeniably fascinating material. Moreover, it is the mesmerizing techniques of glassmaking that gives it a soul. With a diverse and extensive history, this ductile material has been an indispensable element of our lives. While new production methods have made their way in recent times, Italian tradition is by far the best examples of authentic practices and quality.

Italian glass making is one of a kind. It wonderfully combines traditional techniques practiced through the time, with contemporary designs that continue to inspire artists worldwide. Thanks to talented Italian glass masters who have handed down the nuances from one generation to the next to make each product unique and inimitable. Discover the history of Italian glassmaking for anyone interested in the art, practice or collection of glassware and discover stunning lighting, décor, tabletop and furniture pieces crafted in this magical material.

There are no two identical pieces for glass products. Colors too, are unique, due to the high level of craftsmanship. Glass making involves an element of surprise, as one does not know how it has turned out until it is out of the hot kiln. Unveil the secrets of glassblowing directly from the hands that create the magic​!

The Story of Glass Blowing

Glass blowing is a fascinating technique of making glass that holds high regard as the traditional art of Italy. The earliest evidence of glass blowing dates back to the 8th-century furnaces set up in the city of Venice, Italy. These furnaces produced beautiful glass objects but also initiated a high risk of fire in the city. Hence the production activities were moved to the island of Murano, Venice’s prosperous neighbor, which until today is one of the most renowned hubs for Italian glass art. Here, glass is synonymous with Murano.

Working with glass can be tricky as it involves physical strain and a high chance of failure. The formulas and recipes are like treasures, passed down from fathers to sons in glassmaking families. For example, the Salvadore brothers of Studio Salvadore work with glass and shape it into ethereal vessels that can be used as dynamic installations pieces.

Colorful buildings and the shimmering waters outside the ateliers of Murano reflect the inspiration for glass makers' next masterpieces.

Glass Blowing Techniques

Murrina. A very ancient technique dating back to Roman times that has been rediscovered in Venice during the 15th century. Being faithful to the ancient processes, the real Venetian murrine glass remains the same until today. Patience is key, this craft involves tubes of multi-colored glass, heated and melded together to create psychedelic floral patterns. Exceptional glasses by ​​​La Fornasotta, as well as the Murrine vases designed by ​Carlo Scarpa for ​Venini and ​Eros Raffael's pieces express the beauty of this ancient glassmaking technique.

Canne. Objects of great elegance take shape when round or flat multicolored glass canes are juxtaposed. Some glassware by ​La Fornasotta​Murano Glam and by​ Carlo Moretti are crafted using the Venetian glass making "canne" technique resulting in pieces with a strong chromatic identity.

Tipetto. Murano glass goblets have been admired and desired all over the world. Made with tipetto technique, it is distinguished by its intricately sculpted stems, often spelling the letter “S”. But, don't think that Murano glass masters achieve plain brilliance in the first go. Several experiments result in the perfect sophisticated goblet. The most famous ​Fabiano Amadi goblets are large elegant glasses with intricately sculpted stems. The ​Torcello Rigadin flute is a striking example of the most exquisite designs of Murano suitable for festivities.

​Incalmo. A Murano glass technique that dates back to the 16th century and consists of merging together two blown glass pieces of different colors when hot to create an object. This technique is used to create beautiful bottles, hourglasses and vases, such as the Bolle Vases designed by Tapio Wirkkala for Venini.

​Rigadin. A characteristic glass making technique that characterizes the surface of the glass. The rigadin decorative motifs on the glass surface obtained by blowing glass in an open bronze mold, and then twisted before exiting the mold if a twisted rigadin is desired. Many decorative glass pieces and glassware feature this type of glass making technique, such as the glass sets by ​Striulli Vetri d'Arte and the Drops vases designed by Renzo Stellon for​ Venini.

The island of Burano is a host to countless other techniques that craft a rich variety of designs and finishes. "Machete" for example, is a spotted glass obtained by gathering granules of colored glass around a quantity of crystal. Whereas the "Piera" technique is achieved by melting the murrine into a clear glass base; and the popularMillefiori” that denotes “a thousand flowers”, is a result of a meticulous process that produces gorgeous pattern and deep colors, that easily distinguishes the products from other glass creations. 

Little Story of Glass Engraving

Tuscany is another important region for handcrafted glass treasures. The historic town of Empoli is mostly regarded for its glass carving tradition that dates back to the days when they produced "damigiane" large glass containers used to store local wine. Through years of artistic development, the classic green flasks have started being produced in different shades of blue and yellow. The green-tinted flasks by ​Elgio Studio revisit the traditional methods with new sensibilities. ​Creart’s champagne flutes let you admire the craftsmanship straight out of the workshop. Discover the glasses by ​Vetrerie di Empoli, that add a dash of absolute contemporaneity into modern homes. His magnificent transparent and gold bottle paired with ​Capriccio glass set makes statement décor items.

Shop By Collection

The progressive interpretation of these age-old crafts, united with modern working techniques, has paved the way for a series of curated collections. Discover anything from traditional Venetian mirrors to luxury glass furniture. The playful​ Bilicio centerpiece sits harmoniously well with ​Carlo Moretti glasses. Look out for the marvels of Murano, and the prowess of ​Striulli that has changed the era of chandeliers.

Our Glassmiths

Meet some of our talented glassmiths: ​Carlo Moretti, ​Ongaro & Fuga​Salviati who continue to push the boundaries of convention, presenting glass in innovative ways without compromising on quality. With their path-breaking creativity and unmatched skills, we can be rest assured that Italian glass will never cease to sparkle. Or explore glass creations by product category: glass tableware, glass lighting, glass furniture and glass décor.

Our glassmiths have the art of glass in their veins.

A curated collection of exceptional glass pieces designed by some of the most important designers of the present and of the past. Explore iconic and colorful glass décor and furniture designed by ​Ettore Sottsass​Alessandro Mendini​Ugo La Pietra​Patricia Urquiola​Karim Rashid, Carlo Scarpa and more.