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 is one of Florence’s distinctive crafts. And marbleized glass is a Venetian specialty, particularly 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 Workshop in Pietrasanta gives 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. Legatoria 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. The youngest member of the Cozzi family, Riccardo Luci now runs the business.
Marbled Murano Glass
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, Murano) is one place where travelers can watch artisans and pick up glassware and trinkets. Learn more about trademarked Murano marbled glass.
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
Post first published on January 18, 2012