The Venetian glass tradition first started in the lively island situated in the northern lagoon. The island of Torcello was the "Great Emporium" of the lagoon: here the first glass items were produced. At the beginning of the XIIIth century the "fiolai," artisans who manufactured glass (the name comes from "fiola" a glass bottle with a long thin neck), were recognized as a Guild, a form of professional association for members of the same trade. In 1291, the Maggior Consiglio of the Republic emanated a decree which ordered the destruction of all the working furnaces in the Venetian quarters of Rivoalto in order to protect the city from fires. The island of Murano, where several workshops where already active, thus become the heart of glass production in the lagoon. The art of Murano glass reached fully maturity during the 16th century: imitations of glass production "a la fason de Venise" started increasing.
In 1600, the Great Plague which wiped out half the population of Europe did not spare the Venetian islands. The climate of social and political paralysis which characterized the last years of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, concurrent with the economic crisis during the first half of the 19th century, determined a standstill of the artistic glories of Venetian glass. Incredibly, the miracle of the revival of the magnificence of Muranese glass comes from the past. As a matter of fact, the entire sector owes its rebirth to the opening of the Museum of Glass Art on the island of Murano in the mid 1800s. Some masters, Toso, Fuga and Barovier, just to mention a few, enraptured by the suggestive quality of the antique pieces exhibited in the Museum, did their best to reproduce them. During the following century, Muranese glass regained success thanks to their fortunate encounter between glass production and the creativity of great artists, painters and designers, leaders in the new emergent tendencies of art. In the 17th century, the Venetian Zuanne Geronimo Gazzabin tied the family name to the Glass Art of Murano forever. In fact, he became the owner of a furnace in Murano in 1640, named "Al Bastian." Two generations later, the surname Gazzabin was changed to Vistosi, a nickname earned by a member of the family who had a fancy for eccentric clothing.
With a rich history behind him, a descendent of the Gazzabin family, Guglielmo Vistosi, opened a glasshouse in Murano in the mid 1940s, which proved to be a successful venture and revived the style and skill that had secured the family's position in the history of the lagoon. When he died in 1952, the company was inherited by his brother Oreste who chose to manage sales and marketing and his nephews, Gino and Luciano, who ran the production which mainly consisted of glass lighting articles. Luciano became the ambassador of the new philosophy, selling a "name" in the world of glass, which was to be recognized by the refined shapes of masterpieces created by the designers to secure the Vistosi style in "timeless creations&quoot;.
The Vistosi glassworks policy matured through the 1950s to truly innovative positions. The trips to Northern Europe, the stimuli and ideas which derived from multiple contacts with avant-garde artists and important names, gave birth to a completely new company philosophy. A series of products characterized by extremely linear forms unveiled a new and unedited Muranese artistic course. From that moment, the refined shapes of the pieces created at the designer's working tables, gave way to a combination between design and Muranese glass thus becoming a choice of style for Vistosi. During the 1960s, the glasshouse linked its name to the works of artists of the caliber of Peter Pelzel and Eleonore Peduzzi Riva. After a phase of "juvenile" renewal, Vistosi has reached full maturity thanks to the cooperation of the most representative international architects and designers of the moment such as: Gae Aulenti, Vico Magistretti, Angelo Mangiarotti, Alberto Meda, Ettore Sottsass, Adalberto dal Lago and many others.
Vistosi now relies on the talent and creativity of young and ever searching collaborators such as Mauro Olivieri, Alberto Chiaromonte, Marco Marin, Giovanni Barbato, Paolo Ricchi, Roberto Maci and Oriano Favaretto; artists who work attempting to fly among difficult spaces, who aim at dominating signs with which to free themselves and who are convinced that design is always a good idea in any case.