Altare is one of the most representative glassware centres in Europe whose importance was documented as early as the XIII Century.
Glass making in Altare was at its highest in 1495, when the Guild (University) of the Glassmakers of Altare was recognised by a Royal Decree and the first Statutes regulating glassmakers’ rights and duties were issued.
For some centuries, Altare and Murano were the most important centres for glassmaking. The decline started with the onset of internal fights and the difficult relationships with other activities in the glass sector. The Manifesto Reale (Royal Decree) of 1823 ratified the end of the Guild.
In 1856 the Società Artistico Vetraria (Society of the Art of Glass) was founded. It was the first example of a collaboration between capital and labour in Italy. It ceased its activities in 1978, but during its 122 years of existence it was a source of employment for generations of people in Altare who specialised in many fields thus becoming among the most praised glass experts in the World.
Today some of the most important table glassware factories are located (Bormioli, Saint Gobain Glass) in Altare. In 1984, to safeguard the old tradition of the Art of Glass, the Museum of the Glass of Altare was established.
In 2005, new premises were open and they now host a unique collection of antique and modern extremely valuable objects displayed in 12 rooms on two floors.