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What Are The Disappearing Crafts Of Venice? A History Of Lost Traditions

December 14th, 2019 by Prontopia

Venice has a long and rich history and is a city where citizens have practiced thousands of vocations, some of which originated in Venice. It is only natural that with the evolution of the city from a powerful naval republic into a modern tourist attraction, many of these traditional crafts disappeared. However, a handful of stubborn, courageous people still practice these arts. Let’s find out what Venice traditional crafts are!

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As a matter of fact, it can help you get to know the city better to know what jobs Venetians have traditionally held. Keep reading to learn what they are!


The ancient art of the _batioro _is an art in which artisans pounded gold and silver onto a marble slat to create very thin sheets of metal. Now, this work has been kept alive by Mario Berta Battilorowhose shop is now run by his daughter, Sabrina Berta, and her husband.

This work is nowadays crucial especially when ancient palaces need restoration to the gold foils that compose ceiling or other precious details; for example, Berta Battiloro’s gold foils have been used for the restoration of the Milan Dome, Saint Mark’s Angel and mosaics, and in Louvre’s Sanctuary.


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Next, in the park next to the Biennale, in the sestiere of Castello, the bocaler gather to keep the craft of making and selling ceramic and terracotta mugs, pots, and flatware alive. You can take lessons and learn the fundamentals.


Gondolas and gondoliers could not work so efficiently without the help of the ganzer, a young man with a hook on top of a stick keeps the boat close to the bank. Nowadays, this job has nearly faded away.


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Marangon used to be such an indispensable job that society held carpenters in great esteem. There were a dozen of different qualifications, from the marangon da soaze who carved frames, to boteri who made casks, and remeri who built oars.

Apart from the marangon de case (the construction workers), only a few remer today have still their workshops operating. One of them is Saverio Pastor, who makes refined oars and oarlocks (which is called forcola in Venetian).

Fun fact: The name comes from a close relative of cormorants, because the carpenters had to dive to the keel of a ship to check that no gaps had been overlooked.


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A beautiful way to pave the floor of a house is the technique of terazo. The terazer was and is the patient person who was able to perform such a thorough job. The Crovato family is one of the very few to look for if you want to embellish your floors. It is simply mesmerizing to watch them work.


Lace and lacemakers belong to the small colorful island of Burano. A few months ago, Ms. Emma Vidal, a 103-year-old lady, passed away after spending her life to continue and keep alive the tradition. Burano lace is a living craft, and artisans manufacture excellent pieces and sell them on the island’s dedicated museum.


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Impiraressa at work

Only a real Venetian can grasp the meaning of a difficult word like _impiraressa. _Women typically perform this job, and they string together glass beads to make bracelets, necklaces, and other objects. Go have a look at the work of some nice ladies. Women pass the profession down from mother to daughter, and it takes hours or days to make each of the beautiful pieces that they do.

Now you know a few of the oldest and most traditional crafts in Venice, but keep in mind that many of the crafts specific of the Lagoon died with the change of times. These are only the ones that you can still witness today, do you wish to discover more? A Prontopia local is a source of information in this case, too.

Book a connection and dive into Venice’s traditional crafts!

Photo Credit: Shaping Vase (Photo from Unsplash), Saverio Pastor and one Forcola (Photo by Author), Venitian Floor (Photo by Author)


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