The art of crystal making in Colle Val d’Elsa
Glass and crystal are manufactured in a mixture of tradition and modernity, industrial and artisanal mastery, deserving to be discovered in every reflection.
ART&CRAFT / STORY / CULTURE
It’s not by chance that Colle Val d’Elsa is officially recognised as the city of crystal. In this small town in Tuscany with ancient roots and a modern soul, unique artefacts come to life in the hands of the glass masters, fully-fledged designers in this sector, who have made the manufacturing of crystal an art form that goes much beyond the customary precious tableware. If you want to find out how fire moulds the glass and floods it with light, this is the place for you.
“The crystal tradition has always lived in Colle Val d’Elsa and today is a world excellence”
The handicraft in Colle began in 1300 thanks to the abundance of three natural elements: sand, water and wood were essential to give birth to the first hub of the glass manufacturing industry. With the new input of machinery, the glass industry experienced a big boost in the 19th century. Today, the production numbers of Colle Val d’Elsa are mind-boggling: 95% of the national production of crystal is manufactured here and 15% of the world production! One of the nicknames of the town is in fact Italian Bohemia.
Not just goblets and glasses: in the many workshops of Colle di Val d’Elsa creativity is the rule! The workshops open to the public offer the spectacle of fire shaping the crystal, an exciting experience also for younger people. It is almost impossible not to be charmed by the endless mastery of the artisans who skilfully mould an almost liquid material, that escapes and is white-hot. To know where all the workshops that can be visited are located and if you need to book, you should contact the Pro Loco offices.
One of the workshops that can be visited is located not far from an emblematic place, the Museum of Crystal, set up inside a former glass factory. The history and techniques of manufacturing are reported on the descriptive panels, while the rooms host precious items and installations that harmoniously “rain” from above. The “crystal forest” closes the museum visit in a stunning and dream-like way.
Together with Volterra alabaster [link OK], the crystal in Colle Val D’Elsa is a local artisanal excellence and a connecting link between tradition and modernity.
An example of this balance is given by some contemporary artwork [Link OK] by Kiki Smith located in Valdelsa, to which the American artist had crystal elements added to stress the close link existing between an art form and the land it comes from: a land around Colle Val d’Elsa, consisting of ancient roads [link OK], gentle hills and clear water courses [link OK]all to be discovered.
Immerse yourself in what you most love: nature, art and history. Valdelsa and Valdicecina are waiting for you!
Be inspired by our wedding suggestions, choose Valdelsa Valdicecina for your important day, “Be Tuscan for your special day”!
Valdelsa Valdicecina: a land of stories and harmony