Art Glass

Among the common colors of sea glass that can be found along the coast of Italy, there also exist pieces which display bright colors, unusual patterns and multiple colored layers. In general, we call these pieces "art glass". The origin of Italian art glass is extremely unique in comparison to that of any other piece of normal sea glass (bottles, windows, tableware). Behind art glass, there are centuries of traditions and techniques that made Italian glass artisans world-renowned.

Since there are a multitude of different styles of art glass that flourished over the years, it would require a lengthy explanation to outline them all. The following are the most common types of art sea glass that can be found here in Italy.


Vetro Lattimo
(milk glass)

Lattimo glass was first made in Venice in the 16th century. It is an opaque glass due to the presence of micro-crystals interspersed in the material which are separated out when the molten glass is cooled down. The micro-crystals do not absorb light, but reflect it; this determines both the opacity and the coloring. Lattimo glass colors usually include blue, green, pink, yellow, brown, black and white.

Vetro Incamiciato
(cased glass)
a piece of incamiciato sea glass seen 
from the side and bottom

Incamiciato glass was created in the 1920s. It is made by superimposing an inner layer of lattimo glass and an outer layer of transparent colored glass in order to give the object an opaque effect. In some designs, there may be one or two thin layers of clear glass added in order to give a sense of thickness and depth to the base color. This technique is realized by blowing each layer inside of the other. It is much simpler than other more complicated glass styles, but the result has a very considerable visual impact, especially in larger objects. It was used extensively for light fixtures, as the layer of lattimo glass allowed for the perfect diffusion of light.

an example of multi-colored incamiciato

Vetro Sommerso
(flash or flashed glass)

Sommerso (submerged) glass is a decorating technique used to achieve several layers of glass in one object. The Sommerso technique was especially popular during the 1930s. This thick glass is realized by coating the object with several layers of clear glass and colored glass. While still attached to the glassblowing pipe, the item is repeatedly dunked in the various pots of molten, colored glass. The use of multiple colors created a colorful multi-layered effect. In comparison to vetro incamiciato, the layers of glass are much thicker.