The art of glassmaking has been an essential part of Italian culture for centuries, with Empoli, a small town in the Tuscany region, boasting an impressive glassmaking history that dates back to the 1400s. Often overshadowed by the world-renowned Murano glass, Empoli glass, or Florentine glass, has its own unique charm and characteristics that set it apart.
A Glimpse into Empoli's Glassmaking History:
Located near the vibrant capital city of Florence, Empoli has been a hub for glassmaking since the 15th century. The close proximity to the city has led to the alternative name of Florentine glass. In fact, the Tuscany region is so closely associated with Empoli glass that you will often find the two names used interchangeably.
The Modern Era of Empoli Glassmaking:
The year 1830 marked a significant turning point in Empoli's glassmaking history when Francesco Del Vivo and Michele Ristori founded a glassworks that continued production until 1984. This modern era of Empoli glass ushered in new techniques and designs, solidifying the town's reputation as a center for innovation in the world of glass art.
The Iconic Empoli Verde:
For a long time, the Empoli area was synonymous with green glass, aptly named Empoli Verde or Empoli Green. This distinct green hue is achieved naturally, thanks to the iron content found in the local sand. The result is a beautiful and unique shade that has become a trademark of Empoli glassmaking.
The Rise of Colored and Cased Glass in the 1950s:
Empoli glassmakers began to explore new horizons in the 1950s by producing colored and cased glass. This diversification coincided with a surge in exports, making Empoli glass a popular choice worldwide. This shift in production led to the creation of striking designs and intricate patterns that have become synonymous with the Empoli glass tradition.
Empoli's rich history in glassmaking and its association with the Tuscany region has resulted in a unique and captivating art form that has stood the test of time. With its distinctive Empoli Verde and the stunning colored and cased glass from the 1950s, the Empoli area has made a lasting impression on the world of glassmaking. As we continue to appreciate and admire the craftsmanship of Empoli glass, we celebrate the heritage and skill that has contributed to this captivating art form.
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