The Salt Warehouse

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Recently renovated according to current museological criteria, the Salt Warehouse contains the Empoli Glass Museum, which was inaugurated in 2010.

The first information relative to the presence of a salt warehouse (also called a “canova” - meaning food store) in Empoli dates back to 6 April 1365, when the Municipality authorized its construction, at the request of the Florentine Republic.

The first building was probably built within the boundary walls and was later extended during the fifteenth century. In 1543, a mill was added - near the port of call of the River Arno. The building was converted into a salt deposit and the salt was later transported on small ships to Florence or distributed throughout the surrounding territory.

The salt came largely from the Volterra saltpans and was transported by pack animals along the Via Maestra or Salaiola, coming from Gambassi, entering through the Porta Giudea or Porta dei Cappuccini (Gate of Judea or Gate of the Capuchin Monks) and then along the Via degli Asini (Road of the Donkeys), today called Via Ridolfi, to the Warehouse where the product would be unloaded, heaped and distributed.

In the first decades of the nineteenth century, significant expansion of the building became necessary and two small adjacent houses were added to it.  This intervention was planned and designed by the architect, Filippo Nini, in 1818 and involved the complete renovation of the façade, based on architectural forms inspired by the typical simplicity and decorum of public utility buildings.