The Fiasco takes its name from the Latin: flasca, flasco (bottle or container). It was a typical Italian style of wine bottle, with a round body and bottom, partially or completely covered with a woven straw basket, that also enables the bottle to stand upright. This straw covered bottle has developed an impression of a cheap Italian table wine. Though the high cost of hand weaving the straw has led to the near demise of this charming wine bottle.
The basket is typically made of sala, a swamp weed, sun-dried and blanched. The basket provides protection during transportation and handling, along with a flat base. Thus the glass bottle can have a round bottom, which was much simpler to make by glass-blowers. Fiasco's are packed with the necks tucked into the spaces between the opposite bottles.


It is not exactly known when the straw covering was introduced. A 14th century painting by 'Tomaso da Modena' shows a small rounded flask, completely wrapped with string of some kind, plus other artistic depictions by; Botticelli and Ghirlandaio. The earliest remains of sala-covered bottles date from the 15th century.
Throughout its history, the Fiasco was found on the tables of peasants and Popes alike. A decree from 1574 along with several others - were set in place to try and give a guarantee to the wines authenticity, with a law in 1621 designated sealing the bottle's with molten lead. So the straw covering had to be reduced, leaving the bottle bare from the waist (just above widest part) up - which continues to this day.
By the early 20th century, the manufacture of Fiascos employed around 1000 glass blowers and 30,000 basket weavers. But in the 1950's the manufacture of these bottles and baskets became increasingly machine made.
The straw bands can be vertical or horizontal; the former was traditionally used for fiascos destined to local markets, while the latter, with a reinforced base and more careful weaving, was used for export orders. The exported bottles often had a basket of whitened straw, decorated with two coloured stripes to make Italian flag.