In the green hills north of Florence, Italy, within a Tuscan hamlet of Mugella lies a picturesque 14th century town called Scarperia, where you can hear the sound of hammer forging metal and witness an ancient tradition which still exists today in the art of knife making. Travel here on your trip of hidden Italy and you will find a museum (Il Museo dei Ferri Taglienti), which is totally dedicated to this craft, offering tours, with the use of multimedia and educational panels and for the more practical among you, there is even a workbench where you can challenge yourself in the historical tradition of assembling the very same knife that has found its place in our culinary lives, a knife that was, and still is designed by the talented Artisans whom work in Scarperia. It is also worth mentioning, that if you are ever visiting the area in June, you should not miss the yearly event, when the museum holds a knife market and trade fair in honour of their famous knives.
Since 1906, the production methods of these historic Tuscan Artisan-made knives have been the same, what changed instead, is the number of Artisan workshops, of which there are only four remaining from the original 450 that produced these works of art. The well-known workshops of Berti, Consigli, Saladini and dell’Artigiano all have one thing in common, and that is the materials they use. The traditional Scarperia knives are created from steel, bone and wood with finishes and embellishment details in gold, silver and brass, and they are completely hand made by master craftsmen. The blade is made from steel, the handle is polished buffalo horn and exotic woods and until the beginning of the 19th century, they all were made with the same novel element for its time – the metal structure was embedded inside the handle. Each knife bears the initials of the craftsman who manufactured it and even more amazing is that each piece is worked on from start to finish, by one maestro to ensure the utmost quality, lightness and beauty that the knives of Scarperia are famous for.
In this modern world we live in, you can easily purchase these beautiful crafted knives on the Internet and have them delivered right to your door, but if it is at all possible, you should not miss the opportunity, if you are passing through Tuscany on a road trip of Italy or a luxury Italy tour, to witness the creation of the Tuscan knife within the original setting of Scarperia and bring back not only a unique tool that will last you a lifetime, but a piece of history and a real feel for the ancient tradition.