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Glass | Italian, Empoli

Empoli, as a municipality itself, is approx 30kms (45 mins) slightly south-west of Florence, in the region of Tuscany, Italy. It’s the somewhat forgotten region of the country when it comes to glass manufacturing, behind the well-known Murano or Venetian glass.

Glass making in the Empoli region of Italy actually has a history which dates to the 1500s, when local glass production was known as ‘verde’ (Italian for green). The traditional verde glass was created for a number of both functional and decorative pieces during its time.

However, during the peak post-war period, decorative items produced in Empoli and the surrounding region were manufactured at an all-time high, bound for western international markets. Across the peak of the 1950s through the early 1970s, decorative decanters, vessels, vases and the like were exported and sold at various department stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, etc.

Catalogues for department stores and home styling magazines of the era can be found today online showcasing decorative Italian decanters and vases, for the most part originating from the Empoli region.

Glass made by a variety of Empoli manufacturers -both large and small- varied in shape, size, colour and decoration. Various forms were inspired by early Venetian glass-making styles and techniques, as well as newer options developed over time.

Whilst some Empoli company names are known, such as Christalleria Artistica Toscana, Stelvia Glass and Vetreria Artistica Sanminiatello, many are unkown.

Some of the known importers/exporters of Empoli glass -often seen on paper/foil labels when still intact on pieces- are Rossini, Guildcraft and Alrose.

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