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Cutting tools

the museum

The "Museo dei Ferri Taglienti" is housed in the prestigious and recently-restored Palazzo dei Vicari, and focuses on the history of the knife in human activity, the centres of production in Italy, and the knife-makers and knives of Scarperia. It is also possible to see a live demonstration of the construction of a knife. In the nearby Via Solferino there is the ancient Bottega del Coltellinaio where, together with period tools, there is also an untouched smoke-permeated working environment. It almost seems possible to hear carefully judged blows falling onto hot iron that has just come straight from the forge; or to see the sputafuoco ("fire-spitter") at work, whetstone with a strip of powder-coated leather on top that was used to polish the blades, and which produced sparks when it came in contact with the iron; or to see the up-and-down movement of the sartuzza that was used to bore holes in horn handles. Made completely rigid by the morchia (coal dust mixed with water) which has impregnated it for years, there is an old felt cap which was part of the orso (a wheel of rags), which still today could put a shine onto the horn handle of a beautiful knife from Scarperia.

Translated by Jeremy Carden
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati


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Press registration n. 5528 10/11/2006 - Editor Polimedia - P.IVA 05575950489