From the Italian meaning ‘stitch in air’, and also known as flat Venetian point, it is an early form of needle lace. Punto in Aria was a 17thC development from reticella laces and constituted a breakthrough in lace making–it is considered to be the first true needle lace, as it was designed to move beyond the grid framework and be made on its own, i.e. not stitched onto a base cloth.
Punto in aria was instead worked on a new type of base: several layers of fabric were tacked together and topped with a piece of parchment, onto which the design had been sketched. This design was then outlined with a fil de trace, a gimp or couched thread, which also secured the parchment down. The lace was then worked in buttonhole stitches, and when completed carefully cut away from the underpinning.
It is a very similar lace to Spanish flat lace, though the patterns are considered to be lighter and finer. The 17thC French Point D’Alençon and Argentan developed from this.