The Glassmaking Italian Legacy in Beatrice and Aldo’s Story

Today “Fat­to a Mano” Post­card is dedi­ca­ted to two glass masters, Maria Bea­tri­ce Cesa­ri and Aldo Fra­sca, who have their work­shop in the cen­ter of Roma.

For­ty years of acti­vi­ty dedi­ca­ted to resto­ra­tion, research, and crea­tion of pre­cious, beau­ti­ful objec­ts: your work seems more like­ly to a string of anec­do­tes, adven­tu­res.  How did it start? When did you fir­st meet?

Our paths cros­sed when we were teens, then we grew up toge­ther, and toge­ther we gave life to our busi­ness and crea­ted our family.

On your busi­ness card, we read “Glass art and resto­ra­tion”: who, bet­ween you two, is the glass master? Whe­re did he/she train?

With great pas­sion, we have mer­ged the two Ita­lian glass­ma­king schools.

I, Bea­tri­ce, Ligu­re by birth, had my trai­ning in Alta­re, a lit­tle town in the pro­vin­ce of Savo­na, whe­re a glass­ma­king custom still exists, that dates back indeed to the year 1000. The­re I have had the chan­ce to know and get along with the Bor­mio­li fami­ly sin­ce I was a lit­tle child.

In Vene­zia, Aldo com­ple­ted his clas­si­cal stu­dies. In the mea­n­whi­le, he has atten­ded the reno­w­ned glass­ma­king work­shops of Mura­no, sin­ce he was a boy.

Your atten­tion is addres­sed espe­cial­ly to the chan­de­liers of all sty­les and histo­ri­cal periods: whe­re does this pre­fe­ren­ce come from?

We have refi­ned our tech­ni­ques over the years, col­lec­ted mate­rials, then our eclec­tic tem­per has brought us to indi­vi­dua­li­ze our­sel­ves into a sti­mu­la­ting mar­ket niche. Never­the­less, our true pas­sion has always been infu­sing new life and secu­ring big and impor­tant objec­ts: pre­cious mir­rors and chandeliers.

Indeed, mar­ve­lous chan­de­liers all around the world have indu­ced you to tra­vel a lot.  Do you have any anec­do­tes to narrate?

I remem­ber with plea­su­re when Nico­let­ta Bra­schi and Rober­to Beni­gni had sent us an object to be resto­red. For that work, we asked no money, only an auto­gra­ph for our sons, just kids at that time. The day after a luxu­ry car stop­ped in front of the work­shop: the two artists got out of the car with a par­cel in their hands… it was full of all the DVDs of Beni­gni, inclu­ding the just come out “Pinoc­chio”, along with a num­ber of auto­gra­phed pho­tos. With us, the­re was also one of my sons, that after a brief cha­sing had Beni­gni signing his t‑shirt… After­ward, we have resto­red all the chan­de­liers of their huge and won­der­ful villa.

Ano­ther sto­ry I can men­tion is when in Palaz­zo Cae­ta­ni, in Via del­le Bot­te­ghe Oscu­re, whe­re the Bra­zi­lian Ambas­sa­dor to the Holy See cur­ren­tly resi­des, we have resto­red mir­rors and chan­de­liers, a 4 years long work. Well, whi­le we were wor­king on-site, the pain­ters remo­ved from the walls three big mir­rors, 4 meters high, that were han­ging in the hall, and laid them on the ground in one of the loun­ges of the pala­ce. Never lie mir­rors on the ground! In order to ‘pro­tect’ them, the pain­ters have cove­red them with a can­vas. When one of the Embas­sy atten­dan­ts ente­red the room to open the win­do­ws, he under­stood by the noi­se that he was wal­king on some glas­ses which were bro­ken under his steps. It wasn’t enou­gh as, thin­king to avoid fur­ther dama­ges, he began to run and all the mir­rors went to pie­ces. It took a long accu­ra­te work to resto­re them; we had also to find in our ware­hou­se some mat­ching mir­rors in the same sage sha­de of color to sub­sti­tu­te the bro­ken ori­gi­nal pieces.


Your work calls for histo­ri­cal resear­ches about the objec­ts that need your inter­ven­tion. Do you remem­ber each object, each story?

Yes! We can say we remem­ber the objec­ts we have resto­red and their loca­tion more than their owners. Each object has its own life graf­ted in the histo­ri­cal con­text it belongs to.

Fur­ther­mo­re, you crea­te authen­tic works of art in col­la­bo­ra­tion with famous artists…

One of the bran­ches of our busi­ness that we have deve­lo­ped in the years has been rea­li­zing new objec­ts and col­la­bo­ra­te in per­for­man­ces with some impor­tant con­tem­po­ra­ry artists like Pao­lo Guiot­to, Luca Maria Patel­la, and others.

And spea­king about col­la­bo­ra­tions, an ama­zing instal­la­tion made for the Cen­ter of Musi­cal Research has gone on world tour… 

Yes. From Rome, whe­re it had been fir­st pre­sen­ted at the Goe­the Insti­tut, it has been brought to Japan, Chi­na, and some other coun­tries in Nor­thern Euro­pe. It’s an ela­bo­ra­te system of ‘varian­ts’ made of glass that reso­na­te and con­tri­bu­te to effu­se a melody.

But the­re is more, your con­tri­bu­tion appears clear­ly also in some movie frames…

Our works are pre­sent in Mar­tin Scorsese’s  “The last temp­ta­tion of Chri­st”, in “The woman of the King”, in some movies of Feli­ce Fari­na, and in others.

In the gol­den age of Cine­cit­tà, we used to ope­ra­te dai­ly, making objec­ts by desi­gns and scenography. 

Your custo­mers are then com­pa­nies, public insti­tu­tions, artists, and pri­va­tes: all this just thanks to your talent and mouth-to-mouth, as it was in the past. Is it still working?

Yes, mouth-to-mouth is always effec­ti­ve. Now also the web­si­te, even if a lit­tle bit sta­tic, not upda­ted, is useful.

You have also orga­ni­zed some clas­ses for stu­den­ts and for young peo­ple who would like to learn more about this craft: what do you teach them?

We have orga­ni­zed some edu­ca­tio­nal and infor­ma­ti­ve mee­tings, in order to get young peo­ple to know our craft and the oppor­tu­ni­ties it can offer. Clas­ses are more com­pli­ca­ted to orga­ni­ze becau­se they need some com­plex safe­ty pre­cau­tions. We work with sharp glass and 1100 degree flame.

The loc­k­do­wn did not stop you, indeed with your sons’ help, you are upda­ting your ima­ge also in social media…

Yes. We are enga­ging our sons Gabrie­le and Miche­le, who, after ade­qua­te trai­ning, are joi­ning us in the mana­ge­ment and moder­ni­za­tion of the firm. Obviou­sly, in the­se uncer­tain times. It is neces­sa­ry to tran­sform the acti­vi­ty adap­ting it to new needs, without neglec­ting the huge amount of exper­ti­se that we have accu­mu­la­ted throu­gh the years and that is always the foun­da­tion of our activity.

Via Raf­fae­le Cador­na, 5
tel. 06 48904339 – cell. 3488842656