The exhibition displays the first results of historical and archeological research, celebrating an artisanal manufacturing industry that has for centuries been a distinguishing element of the entire Val d’Elsa, known well beyond the local territory. The zone is one of three Italian glassmaking areas known in that period, along with Altare and Murano. The particularty and notoreity of its production was such that “gambasini” glasses came to be produced elsewhere as well by “bicchierai” or glassmakers from Gambassi who worked throughout Italy from the 14th century on.
There are three sections in the exhibition.
Glass production in Italy
Introduction to the history of glass production in Italy from prehistory to the 16th century. Particular attention is focused on late-medieval glass production in Tuscany and the Valdelsa.Finds attesting to glass production in a few sites in the Valdelsa are displayed.
Pre-industrial glassmaking techniques
A description of the technological aspects of pre-industrial glassmaking, with a particular focus on raw materials found in the area, production facilities, equipment, and the shaping of objects made in glassworks in operation from the 13th-16thcenturies in the Gambassi area. A three-dimensional informational panel summarizes the entire pre-industrial glass production process. There are also work tools, melting pots, scrap materials, and glass objects produced in and around Gambassi brought to light by recent excavations.
Everyday life in Gambassi glassworks areas
Everyday objects and the remains of meals unearthed during excavations in the municipality of Gambassi Terme illustrate the lifestyle and socioeconomic context of Gambassi’s glassmakers from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Display cases hold finds from excavations in Germagnana and Gambassi (Via delle Campane and Piazza del Castello).