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Craft ecosystem in Venice, Italy

About Venice

Located in the Veneto Region of Northeast Italy, Venice, along with its lagoon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has a rich history. Founded in the 5th century AD, the city spans across 118 small islands and emerged as a prominent maritime power in the 10th century. Venice is a remarkable architectural marvel, with even the tiniest structures housing masterpieces by some of the world’s most renowned artists, including Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, and many more.

Venice, Italy

Craft ecosystem in Venice

About ecosystem

Venice - HEPHAESTUS Craft

The ecosystem of Venetian craftsmanship traces its origins to the ancient medieval guilds of Arts and Crafts, which came together under the banner of Schools. These Venetian Schools were renowned as highly organized and effective institutions for imparting knowledge in the field of Arts and Crafts.

These schools operated as guilds, bringing together the most skilled masters with a profound artistic and cultural background, dedicated to educating apprentices. Over time, these Schools thrived and flourished, persisting until the late 18th century. Among them, the most significant specialized in goldsmithing, textiles, lace-making, mask-making, glass and wrought ironwork, beadwork and printing, and gondola construction. Remarkably, these crafts still endure and thrive in Venice today.

Why Venice is chosen to be one of the HEPHAESTUS craft ecosystems

Venice, with its long-established tradition of craftsmanship, stands out as a crucial ecosystem for the HEPHAESTUS project. Recognized as one of the first places to institutionalize the notion of “Maestro” or master craftsman, Venice offers a platform for exploring the intersection of time-honored techniques and innovative practices. This ecosystem allows HEPHAESTUS to tap into the expertise of maestros while fostering a culture of continuous craft innovation.

The main challenges of the Venice in the context of craft

Craftmakers in the ecosystem

While the Venice ecosystem comprises various types of craftmakers, here are some of the most prominently represented to offer you a glimpse.

Hephaestus project

Glassblowers & glass bead artists

Glasses, vases, decors, plates, chandeliers, mirrors, jewels.

Hephaestus project


The makers of oars for the Venetian boats
and vessels.

Hephaestus project

Tailors & shoemakers

Leather shoes and bags, tailored suits.

Hephaestus project


Fine jewellery, rings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches.

Hephaestus project

Mask makers

Venetian papier-mâché masks, leather, inspired by carnival and the Commedia dell'arte.

Hephaestus project

Engravers & printers

Art print shops, bookbinders, handmade fine editions, paper artefacts.

Hephaestus project

Art and furniture restorers

Restorers and carpenters, for the restoration and construction of valuable furniture.

Hephaestus project

Tailors, lace & textile workers

Fashion designers, handmade fabrics using ancient methods, made-to-measure clothing.

Hephaestus project

Gondola & boat manufacturers

Ancient shipyards (squeri) where gondolas and typical Venetian boats are made.

Craftmakers currently involved in the HEPHAESTUS project

Ambassador – artist Roberto Beltrami

Roberto Beltrami

Glass master

Michela Bortolozzi

Michela Bortolozzi

Artist and craft maker

The Artisanal Journey of Shanti Ganesha

Shanti Ganesha


©Vanessa Milan

Vanessa Milan

Artist and craft maker

©Valentina Stocco

Valentina Stocco


The project HEPHAESTUS expected impact on Venice ecosystem

As part of the project, craftmakers will actively participate through field research activities, engage in focus groups, attend workshops, take part in cultural exchanges with other European craft ecosystems, showcase their work at fairs, and benefit from targeted training activities

Network Formation

The project aims to establish a robust network of Venetian artistic craftsmanship, facilitating communication and mutual reinforcement. This network will engage in ongoing exchanges of knowledge and skills with other European craft ecosystems.

Cultural Enrichment

The project’s goal is to develop a cultural system capable of engaging with key stakeholders and enhancing its cultural heritage through the integration of new technologies.

Transformation from Threat to Resource

It seeks to transform the challenges faced by traditional craftsmanship into valuable resources. Particularly, it focuses on safeguarding knowledge through digital archives and adopting modern photogrammetry techniques for preservation.

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