Scarperia and cutting blades
Scarperia hovers between past and present. It’s not unusual to be strolling along the paved, narrow streets, enclosed between stone walls, medieval towers and centuries-old church as the din of high horse-power motors resound in your ears, disproportionately amplified by the echo in the valley. The noise is coming from the Formula 1 race cars grappling with time trials on the iconic track of the nearby Mugello Circuit.
In the meantime, your gaze is drawn to the fourteenth-century facade of Palazzo dei Vicari, the crux of the town’s temporal power in centuries past: a bloom of titled and ostentatious coats of arms gripping the vertical walls of the stronghold, striking in their military sternness.
Scarperia was founded around 1300 as a Florentine outpost for defense and trading purposes. The production of sharp blades is said to have dated to that time, according to the most viable theories, becoming an industry in the centuries to come. The manufactured flourished to the point that, in recent history, it’s said that there wasn’t a family in the town that didn’t have a knife-making business.
The tradition of cutting blades continues to flourish today thanks to prestigious brands that craft knifes that are displayed next to jewelry and hardware. The custom grew so much that a knife museum opened in 1999, comprising an extraordinary show of more than a thousand pieces in the centuries-old Palazzo dei Vicari, from ground floor to upper levels, and even as far as the view from the top of the tower. The collection encompasses working blades and show pieces, warfare swords and knifes to be worn.
The Museum of Cutting Blades is a destination for enthusiasts wishing to learn more about this Tuscan tradition, plus it’s an excellent reason to visit one of the loveliest places in the town. The surrounding area is verdant and brimming with surprises like churches and monasteries, as well as places to rest and eat a plate of something truly Tuscan, washed down with one of our region’s striking wines before spending a few hours walking around the town’s well-preserved walls, exploring the Propositura and the Madonna di Piazza Oratory, whose old artistic masterpieces are absolutely worth a look.