The town of Scarperia was founded on September 8, 1306. It was here, at the foot of the Giogo Pass, along the road that plowed through the Apennines, linking Florence with Bologna, that the powerful municipal authority of Florence identified an ideal location for the construction of a new castle, to be called “Castel San Barnaba”. Whether it was due to its location at the “shoe” (scarpa in Italian) of the Apennines, or to the steep (ria in Tuscan) climb up to the Pass, it is probable that the name Scarperia derives from a contraction of these two word associations. Back in those days, the town was sited on what was then the most important road for anyone wishing to cross Italy, since it linked the road from south-eastern Italy with the Padanian plain before leading on into Central Europe. It can certainly be said that Scarperia's location has proved, time and again, to be decisive in determining its undulating fortunes over the centuries. The production of cutting irons has also been crucial to the town’s development from the outset; this specialization was perhaps the result of local military requirements or possibly due to the needs of the local farmers. Whatever the real reason, there is no doubt that the cutlers of Scarperia were never short of work, especially with a continual flow of travelers passing through the town

 - travelers who would help to build the European reputation that the town has enjoyed since as far as back as the 15th century.

For more than two centuries, blades from Scarperia were renowned as being of unrivaled quality, but when – in the 18th century – the nobles of the House of Lorraine commissioned the construction of a new, more northerly road (called Via della Futa) to afford easier access to Bologna (and, therefore, also to the Padanian plain and the rest of Europe), the ancient Giogo Pass suffered a rapid decline in popularity, cut off, as it now was, from the vital flow of traffic. A period of deep crisis ensued. It was only in the second half of the 19th century that Scarperia’s knives and cutlery started to experience increasing demand. With the unification of Italy came numerous orders from all over the country, and particularly from the south. Because of this southern influence, the origins of several types of knives made in Scarperia (the Calabrese, the Napoletano and the Casertano) can be traced back to the south of Italy.

The town’s renaissance came to an abrupt halt with the introduction of the Giolitti Law of 1908, which severely dented the local economy. The 20th century saw two wars come and go, as well as numerous attempts to get the local companies to sign production agreements with each other, none of which ever came to fruition. The fate of the hundred or so workshops was sealed.
However, in the 1980s, thanks to the unflagging commitment of knife experts such as Luciano Salvatici, Giancarlo Baronti and Silvio Milani, the cutting irons museum was inaugurated and several exhibitions were staged, in a concerted attempt to promote the rediscovery of Scarperia’s ancient art. As a result, the reputation for the quality of the knives made here has been consolidated once again, and they are now rightly celebrated throughout the world.

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