Murano art glass. New arrivals: very light goblets. Soon: deeply sculpted vessels

Art glass Glossary

This is a small guide to understand the descriptions of the items exhibited in our website and in general the venetian art glassware.

AVVENTURINA GLASS. One of the most popular murano glass often used for vases, paperweights and several other objects. It's a glass with gilded appearance containing micro particles of copper. It may be natural sparkly copper colour or may be colored; very nice the red or the dark blue avventurina. Blowing this glass is very difficult and the name "avventurina" means that working this material is considered like a "ventura".

CRISTALLO/CRISTALLINO.  Venetian glass is a very clear and pure colourless glass.

FILIGRANA, RETICELLO, RETORTOLI GLASS. This murano glass is formed by colorless rods, inside of which coloured or opaque white threads are enclosed. They are called "reticello" when the threads are interwoven so to form a grid, inside of whose lozenges a small air bubble forms. Glass is called "a retorti" or "retortoli" when threads twist as a spiral. This is one of the most ancient workings, having been used already in the sixteenth century. Probably the most famous Murano glass technique, it may be considered the symbol of the venetian glass, expecially when applied on the classic venetian goblet

FILO.  Decoration made by applying a thread - which can be of various thicknesses and colors - usually on the upper rim or on the base of objects such as vases, cups or glasses.

INCISO/BATTUTO/VELATO. "COLD WORK". Finishing techniques applied to the surface of the glass executed with a grinding wheel. The incision may be executed with various depths. When the incision is large and flat it's called beating, hammered, "battuto". Instead a very sft grinding to obtain a glazed surface is called "velato". This kind of surface finishing was used by some of the best contemporary artists and Murano masters as Carlo Scarpa, Alfredo Barbini, Lino Tagliapietra, Davide Salvadore.

INCALMO. This is an ancient glass technique requiring a particular dexterity from the master performing it. It allows to obtain objects formed by parts blown one at a time, usually of different colors, and then warm joint together, and shaped so to obtain the wished form. This expensive technique is applied on the classic venetian goblets as on contemporary art glass vessels and vases.

LATTIMO. Opaque white glass produced for the first time in Murano towards the half of the fifteenth century, imitating china-pieces. At that time it was used particularly for manufacturing objects decorated with multicolored enamels.
MASSICCIO. The "massiccio" glass is shaping while still malleable with the help of tools and/or molds, but without blowing. Often this process is used for thick glass sculptures.

MORISE. The "morise" working consists in warm applying a thread or small cord worked with pliers, so to obtain a serpentine.

MURRINE. Glass formed by sections of various multicolored glass rods, which are placed so to form a pre-arranged drawing, and then melted together. This technique was already known in Egypt between the third and the first century B.C. It's now one of the most known murano glass, used in several different object, from the entry level giftware up to artworks of the best masters. "Millefiori" is often used as common name (with a wrong definition).

OPALINE. Partly semitransparent milky-white glass changing colors depending on the impact of the light.

ORO. Decoration obtained by warm applying a small golden foil onto the glass being yet not-shaped. This foil can be put outside or sunk inside.

PEA. It is the small glass ball prepared by the master, from which every hollow glass object takes origin.
PASTA. Often called "pasta vitrea", it's an opaque colored glass whose consistency is made to appears similar to ceramic.
PIAZZA. It denotes a team forming one production unit being able to autonomously execute all working phases, which are necessary to manufacture an object. The "glass master" is the responsible for the entire team.

PULEGOSO. Translucent glass that is identified by a countless number bubbles ("puleghe" in dialect of Murano) contained in the glass, obtained by chemical reaction during the heating process.

RIGADIN RITORTO. Glass blown by using a mould, so to obtain thin ribs which - at warm condition - undergo a light torsion. Often used on blown glass as venetian goblets and vases.

SOMMERSO. Artistic glass covered by another layer of glass by superimposing two or more colors immersing the object in various pots of molten glass.. The first "Sunk Glasses" were produced in Murano during the second half of the Thirties to became very popular in the Fifties. Often this technique is used to produce murano glass vases and artistic sculptures.

STAMPO. Wooden or iron tool into which glass is blown, when wishing to mould the material in a particular way. Among the most used moulds, there are those to obtain blown glass with vertical lines and the balloton.







The world of contemporary glass art is growing. Our intention with these linked pages is to provide the collector or the enthusiast with some important information to access to that world and understand it.

Venetian Glass: the origin...

The Venetian Aesthetic...

An History of Lampworking

Lampworked goblets

Stem glass classification

La leggerezza sotto pelle

Il bicchiere da oggetto ad arte

In cooperation with Vetro art glass magazine centro studi