Glassmaking tools holding a glass horse being shaped
Venetian glass (Italian: vetro veneziano) is thought to have been made for over 1,500 years, and production has been concentrated on the Venetian island of Murano since the 13th century. Today Murano is known for its art glass, but it has a long history of innovations in glassmaking in addition to its artistic fame--and was Europe's major glassmaking center from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. During the 15th century, Murano glassmakers created cristallo--which was almost transparent and considered the finest glass in the world. Murano glassmakers also developed a white-colored glass (milk glass called lattimo) that looked like porcelain. They later became Europe's finest makers of mirrors.
Originally, Venice was controlled by the Byzantine Empire, but it eventually became an independent city state. It flourished as a trading center and seaport. Its connections with the Middle East helped its glassmakers gain additional skills, as glassmaking was more advanced in areas such as Syria and Egypt. Although Venetian glassmaking in factories existed as far back as the 8th Century, it became concentrated in Murano by law, beginning in 1291. Since glass factories often caught fire, this removed much of the possibility of a major fire disaster for the city. Venetian glassmakers developed secret recipes and methods for making glass, and the concentration of Venice's glassmaking on the island of Murano enabled better control of those secrets. (Full article...)
The pizza di Pasqua ("Easter Pizza" in English), in some areas also called crescia di Pasqua, torta di Pasqua, torta al formaggio or crescia brusca, is a leavened savory cake typical of many areas of central Italy based on wheat flour, eggs, pecorino and parmesan. Traditionally served at breakfast on Easter morning, or as an appetizer during Easter lunch, it is accompanied by blessed boiled eggs, ciauscolo and red wine or, again, served at the Easter Monday picnic. Having the same shape as panettone, the pizza di Pasqua with cheese is a typical product of the Marche region, but also Umbrian (where, as a traditional food product, it obtained the P.A.T. recognition). There is also a sweet variant. The peculiarity of this product is its shape, given by the particular mold in which it is leavened and then baked in the oven: originally in earthenware, today in aluminum, it has a flared shape. (Full article...)