While the Italian region of Tuscany may be more widely known for its vineyards, its artisan leather factories and the allure of its artistic and architectural patrimony, the region is also home to another ancient industry: handmade knife-production.
The charming, 14th Century town of Scaperia, (in the province of Florence, it’s also the source of the Italian water, Acqua Panna) has a long, illustrious tradition of iron-working and blade making, which is exhaustively documented in the fascinating local museum dedicated to knives, il Museo dei Ferri Taglienti, where an annual artisan knife market and trade fair takes place every June.
While a 1908 ban on the trade and use of pocket knives longer than palm-length nearly extinguished the legendary industry of blade-making, over the recent years, the hand-made knife trade has once again begun to flourish. Scarperia has become a centre for artisan workshops and stores where brands like Saladini, Consigli and Berti continue to make gorgeous, unique, high-quality knives with the same meticulous care as in centuries past.
While all three major knife brands are present online, anyone passing through Tuscany shouldn’t miss a stop to Scarperia and a chance to witness true craftsmanship still in practice today. And whatever unique tool you bring back with you will last a lifetime – and even longer.