If there is one particular word that can be used to define some of Italy’s major handicrafts, it’s marble. Marble, either as a substance or a style, runs through three different artisan crafts that are famous in Italy: some of the world’s finest marble is found in the hills around the province of Massa-Carrara in Tuscany; marbled paper, which is one of Florence’s distinctive crafts; and marbleized glass, a Venetian specialty, especially on the island of Murano.
This month’s Italy Blogging Roundtable is focused on crafts and I am spotlighting marble or marbled handicrafts that travelers should look out for in Tuscany (including Florence) and Venice.
Carrara marble, the same stone that Michelangelo used to carve his famous statues and busts, is renowned throughout the world. Professional and would-be sculptors visit the marble hills in western Tuscany to learn the Italian craft of marble work and you, too, can participate in such classes. The Marble and Art Workshops in Pietrasanta give participants lessons in sculpting, trips to marble studios and foundries, and lessons in mosaic and stone inlays.
Florentine Marbled Paper
One of the most popular souvenirs from Central Italy is Florence’s marbled paper. Artisans have been designing marbled paper since the 17th century, using it largely for bookbinding (another craft) but also for stationary. Alberto Cozzi (Via del Parione 35/r, by Santa Maria Novella) is the most renowned store for purchasing Florentine marbled paper but also where customers can watch artisans restoring book and making marbled papers.
Watching the Murano glass artisans blow, fire, and shape vases, goblets, figurines, and pendants, among other things, is a time-honored tourist favorite when visiting Venice. Murano glass is defined by its vibrant colors and glass crafters often employ marbling techniques to their wares. The Murano Glass Factory (Castello 4623, Venice) is one place where travelers can watch artisans and pick up glassware and trinkets
Read the posts, leave comments, share them with your friends – and tune in next month for another Italy Blogging Roundtable topic.
- ArtTrav – Stefano Giusti, Modern Luthier
- At Home in Tuscany – Wood, leather and flowers
- Brigolante – Crafts in Umbria
- WhyGo Italy – The Guide to Crafts in Italy