Hidden treasures

The story of a true Tuscan: the fiasco!

Did you know that...
fiasco_fila_

The story of a true Tuscan: the fiasco!

'A glass bottle, round and thick, without a base, with a covering of swamp weed that surrounds the body and forms its base...’: even the Accademia della Crusca intervened in 1887 to bring out a proper description for it and it was also liked by famous people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo de Medici, Michelangelo and Botticelli. We are talking about the fiasco bottle, an artefact that, like an incredible time machine, takes you back in time: to the old trattorias of bygone times with a checkered tablecloth or to when wine was kept in a cupboard in the huge kitchens of farmhouses. Today famous wines are sold around the world in elegant slim bottles, but do you know that in the past the opposite was instead true and good wine was bottled only in fiaschi?

The first fiaschi were born around the end of the 1200s in the areas of Val d’Arno and Val D’Elsa: the master glassmakers began to produce pot-bellied containers that resembled the flasks of travelers. To protect the glass, so as to better carry the content, the container was covered with a swamp weed called sala.

The covering of the bottle gave rise to numerous frauds: the most common was to fill it with less wine... it wouldn’t have been noticed anyway! Thus, it was decided to apply a particular seal, called Segno Pubblico, at first to the covering and later directly to the glass. The shape that has survived to the present day is called ‘Toscanella’ thanks to a Florentine member of Parliament, who, during his time in Rome, used to have Chianti wine sent to him. The corks of the bottles sent to Toscanelli often popped out of the bottle! A solution was found by narrowing the neck of the fiasco which thus took on the shape we see today.

Until the 1960s fiasco was a byword for high quality wine but soon the container was used for lesser wines. This signaled the demise of the iconic fiasco, which was increasingly associated with bad quality wine! The replacement of the straw covering with plastic ones decreed the demise of an object that fortunately today is being valued again!

Many stories and anecdotes like the one we have just told you revolve around the wonderful Tuscan wines, discover them with our food and wine tours: our guides have plenty to tell you!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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