Scarperia: The Land of Cutting Tools
Hello my dear explorers,
How are you?
Today I am presenting the first chapter of "Florence What Else on the Road". Finally after this long quarantine I was able to start exploring Tuscany again and its most hidden places in order to share them with you virtually, while we wait for you to be able to travel again and for me to guide you around in person.
In this video there is a small summary of my daily trip.
The destination I have chosen today is in the Mugello area, in the Tuscan countryside just 30 km from Florence, famous for its medieval villages, some of which are still unknown to most, for its gastronomic delicacies including Mugello tortelli and for its unspoiled nature. This is the land where the Medici Family came from , a rich family of bankers who managed to conquer power in Florence and throughout Tuscany and that left us an incredible heritage of Renaissance works of art, thanks to their culture, their patronage and the collections of paintings and statues that they accumulated over time.
Furthermore, the Medici, after moving to Florence, never completely abandoned this area because many of their summer villas were located right in the Mugello where they could relax, go hunting and enjoy their holidays.
The Mugello area is very vast and there are many places to explore; our virtual guided tour of today is in Scarperia.
It is a tiny village at the foot of the Apennines Mountains, halfway between Florence and Bologna, which was conquered by the Florentines in the early 1300s thanks to its strategic position. The surrounding landscape is truly suggestive and in this village we can still see very old buildings, despite the restoration works carried out in modern times, including the Palazzo dei Vicari and the church of Saints Jacopo and Filippo.
The most interesting thing is that walking through the narrow streets of Scarperia I noticed a myriad of small artisan shops selling knives. Since the fourteenth century this village has been famous for the production of the so-called “cutting tools” and this activity, despite some periods of crisis, has continued to exist up to the present day.
One of the oldest knife-producers families is the Berti family who has been making these splendid handmade knives for about 125 years, using ancient techniques and materials but also taking into consideration the needs and tastes of modern society because tradition does not mean not keeping up with the times.
I had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Andrea Berti, fourth generation of knife makers, who told me interesting anecdotes about his family and knives.
The knives had a strong symbolic value: for example, once upon a time young lovers swore their love at the cost of their lives and some knives had some decorations that represented this love promise (for example a chained heart or two boyfriends holding hands). But did you know that " what can cut and wound can hurt love "? You can’t give to your loved one something that cuts so to counterbalance this, if you received a knife as a gift you had to exchange it with a coin to symbolize the purchase or the knife had to show some decorations, such as the amulet, that represent good luck.
There are a thousand other stories to tell about knives and this makes us understand that these objects have a history that goes beyond their usefulness.
Berti knives represent exactly this: tradition, history and beauty as well as cutting properly !!!
I can’t wait to guide you on a tour of the Tuscan villages, where time seems to have stopped and accompany you on a craftsmanship tour, to hear more legends and find out more about these ancient techniques that are still handed down after centuries .
N.B. If the knives of the Berti family intrigue you know that they can be shipped worldwide. Contact me in private and I will give you more infos about it.