From murals to statues to models and live demonstrations, here girls see that women have been key to commerce for centuries – actually from the time that glass blowers were smuggled out of the island of Murano in Venice (which wanted to hold a monopoly on glass making) to this hilltown in the middle of the country.
I am staying in one of 3 glass factories. The oldest (L’Antica Vetreria) which has been converted into apartments, the next – Museo del Vetro – is, as you would guess, now a museum dedicated to the local history glass making and the newest is a cooperatively owned factory outside of the village center.
Are you old enough to remember when tables at every Italian restaurant had a wax coated bottle of Chianti wine dressed in a reed covering? Well here’s the background.
Women historically were not glass blowers, but instead here fashioned the important outer covering with reeds from Lake Trasimeno. Why? One reason is that hand blown bottles would have imperfections at the bottom that would make them unstable.
What a delight to be here for the Sangra Castagna (chestunt festival) during which the museum does live demonstrations. Breaking with tradition, the glass blower is a woman and nearby an elderly woman – perhaps the last in the village – demonstrates impagliatura del fiasco (dressing of the flask – although I think impagliatura literally it means “stuffing”).
Here’s to the work of women – that which has been celebrated, that which is forgotten and that which we do today!