Andriana Zon was born in 1839. In 1858 she married count Alessandro Marcello, mayor of Venice and member of the Italian Parliament. A cultured and intelligent woman, she maintained friendships and corresponded with illustrious Italians and foreign personalities.
For 25 years she was Queen Margherita’s lady-in-waiting. At the age of thirty Andriana became a widow with seven children. Starting in 1871 she began promoting the revival of Burano lace.
The winter that year was particularly harsh. With the frozen lagoon limiting the fishermen’s activity, living conditions on the island became even more difficult. The Honorable Paolo Fambri and Countess Andriana Marcello Zon learned of the last living lacemaker, the guardian of the secrets to Punto in aere (Punto in aria, literally lace in air) lace made only using a needle and thread without woven backing. They asked the lacemaker to teach her art to the girls of the island. This led to the creation, not without effort, of the Burano Lace School. The number of students grew from the original 8 pupils in 1873 to 250 in 1878 and 310 in 1890. The fame of this technique was ensured by noblewomen and the Queen herself, who lent their intricate patterns and motifs to be copied. The school was such a success that it opened two shops on Saint Mark’s Square in Venice as well as in other European capitals and even abroad. Besides the cultural value of the Burano Lace School, one must also remember its social function in favour of young girls who were welcomed in a heated environment, were fed healthy meals, and received an education, which gave them a future through training and employment.