The building is a faithful reconstruction of the ancient factory and was purchased by the town in 1989. It recently underwent considerable renovation which left the architecture and the layout of the rooms unaltered and safeguarded the special characteristics of the building, bringing to light and enhancing the architectural structure and that which it still held: the chimney, the furnace with solidified glass in it from the last fusion, the ventilation shafts and the airing and cooling ducts.
It is one of the few remaining examples of a pre-industrial era glassworks in Italy. The museum displays an array of glass objects made here over the centuries: from beautifully handcrafted glasses, bottles and carafes (some with pure gold decorations) to the demijohns and straw-encased flasks that were once the factory's main product.
A tour of the museum takes the visitor through a succession of fascinating rooms on both storeys that trace the ancient production cycle – from the arrival of the raw material to the final product, including the fusion of the glass and its processing, first manual (for blown items) and then, later on, semi-automatic.
The two rooms on the main floor, whose walls are still black from centuries of smoke, are home to what remains of the furnace. The lower floor, which served as storage space for raw materials and finished products, still boasts a intricate network of shafts and ducts, some of which can be identified as those that circulated the heat under the furnace. At the centre is a massive basin of molten glass left there when the old factory was finally shut down in 1968.
An illustrational multi-media system gives visitors an in-depth notion of the technical aspects of working glass, tracing its history from ancient times to today, as well as the history of Piegaro and its environs, which has always been closely linked to the glassworks. Some interesting documents from the XIII-XIV century offer proof that the factory made sheets of glass and mosaic tiles for the windows and mosaics in the cathedral in Orvieto. This tradition has never been interrupted and, after market demand increased and the need for some serious technological innovation became evident, a modern plant was built in the valley below and is, still today, the driving force of the local economy.
Via Garibaldi, 20 06066 PIEGARO Tel. 075 835 8525
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