Venetian mosaics

There are no greater examples of the traditions of the art of mosaics than the chapel at Torcello and the Basilica of St Marks. And while the earliest origins of the glass used stems from the Byzantines, the Venetians soon looked to their own sources for their materials. That tradition continues today at the Orsoni workshop which has been entrusted with preservation of these two great historic monuments.


At 1045 Fondamenta di Cannaregio, high old walls conceal the fascination of a nineteenth-century glass furnace, as though to protect it. It is the foundry of Angelo Orsoni, the prestigious Venetian company that manufactures glass mosaic with gold leaf and enamels. It is enough to step over the threshold to be carried away by the magic of a world where time seems to havestood still. The fire, the furnace, the marbled crucibles, every corner, reveals part of the legendary tradition of creating glass for mosaic.

The history of Orsoni is the unique legacy of an art that has handed down mysterious alchemies for four generations. The traditions combine the ancient art of Byzantine gold leaf mosaic and the pure enamels of Murano’s Renaissance. Following the rhythm of the craftsmen, every day quintals of coloured enamels and gold leaf mosaics leave the old factory in Cannaregio to become works of art, in private spaces and public settings all over the world. The Orsoni name is linked to the realization of important works such as the Trocadéro and the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur in Paris, Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and many other mosaic masterpieces in Arab and Oriental culture. 

The Master in Mosaic

Entitled “Living the Venice Workshop. History, theory and application of mosaic art”, the Master in Mosaic course is held in Venice, at the Angelo Orsoni foundry. The one-week and two-week classes, are reserved for a maximum of 6 people enrolled in each session. The participants are artists, designers, architects and creative people interested in learning the theoretical and practical elements of the ancient craft of mosaic.

Drawing from the precious legacy of the world renowned mosaic artist Lucio Orsoni and his assistant Antonella Gallenda, the participants will discover the secrets of mosaic, its history and its innumerable possibilities of expression. As true key players in the life of the artist’s workshop, the students experiment with all phases of mosaic art, from witnessing the production of gold leaf mosaic and smalti in the incandescent furnace, to cutting materials with traditional tools, and learning various mosaic techniques on different media. A wonderful Venetian adventure, mosaic instruction and immersion into the historic world of Orsoni. The Master is also accredited through the International Interior Design Association (course 5086) and participants receive 3.2 Continuing Education units.


Introduction Course:

For The Venetian Club members who are new to mosaics, there also an exclusive introduction course, subject to time and the availability of the teaching staff. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to discuss available dates.

Additional Courses 

Master in Mosaic:
one-week and two-week courses

Mosaic Workshop:
three-day course

Thematic classes:
The two thematic classes are taught by Maestra Antonella Gallenda and allow for a deeper study in the techniques of Micro-mosaic and Portraiture.

In the Micro-mosaic class students will make their own filati and work on a 10 x 10 cm project of their own design. They will learn how to mix colours and control the shape and the diameter of the filati. No prior mosaic experience is necessary.

The Portraiture class allows for a two-week immersion into the art of interpreting the human face in mosaic. Students will have access to the 120 flesh tones of Orsoni smalti along with the 2,000+ colors contained in the Orsoni library. Portraits need to be submitted prior to the class for approval and we recommend that students have anatomical drawing experience.

Teaching staff

Lucio Orsoni, supervising Maestro: founder of the Master in Mosaic program.

Antonella Gallenda, primary teacher, protégé to Maestro Orsoni since 1981.

Mirta Baratto: translator and guide.

Liana Melchior: Master in Mosaic organization. 



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