The “Museum of Bottle and Glass,” named for Giovanni F. Mariani, can be found within the 13th century Castello of Poggio alle Mura, today known as Castello Banfi. This museum illustrates the various eras of glass production through history, from the 5th century BC to our current day. Perhaps the most interesting display within the entire museum focuses on the ancient Roman glassware, which according to some authorities is the world’s largest private collection of such pieces.
Within the historic walls, in the old stable and olive pressing room, which still holds equipment dating back to 1857, the display rooms have been attentively assembled to explain the history of glass and the evolution of the wine bottle. In these rooms you will find collections of antique wine bottles, ancient and modern glassware from Venice, including the stupendous “The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso. The beautiful collection of Roman glass begins with smallobjects in molded glass traced back to the 5th and 4th century BC, and continues with blown vases and balsam bottles from the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, ending with blown bottles and
carafes dating to the 4th and 5th centuries CE. Some pieces recently underwent a conservatory restoration at the glass laboratory of San Giovanni Valdarno, in Arezzo, to restore them to their splendor and luster of thousands of years ago. Among the Venetian pieces which are fascinating for their color and delicate structure are those which were worked with a 16th century ‘basket weave’ pattern and a large 16th century display chalice with elements in brass, purchased by the Banfi Foundation to enhance the collection and make it even more interesting to visitors of the museum.
- 10 am to 7:30 am from March 1 to November 3
- 10 am to 6:00 pm from January 2 to February 29 and from November 4 to December 31 (the Museum is closed December 25 and January 1)
Tickets may be purchased at the Enoteca for €4.00 per person (discounted rate €3.50).