Italy was a group of separate states in the eighteenth century, and each one had its own character. The influence of rococo design depended, as always, on the different heads of states, other patrons, and economics. Rome saw the production of some rococo furniture and silver, but much of what was produced might better be described as late baroque—heavy and symmetrical with dramatic contrasts of light and dark. The major centers of rococo were in the north, especially Venice,Turin, Genoa, and their provinces. The north’s silk industry produced shimmering fabrics which added much to the rococo interior, not just in Italy but as an export.
In Turin, the birthplace of Meissonnier, the house of Savoy actively built and furnished palazzi which combined Italian sculptural tradition with French restraint. Venice, with its visual glitter and movement of light on water, was ideally suited to rococo-inspired fantasy and playfulness, and it showed in its painted and gilt furniture.