Within short distances from Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort, many small artisan workshops still thrive, making the Mugello an exceptional area to visit and discover. Villa Campestri itself is a major Olive Oil Resort, where you’ll share with us the production and refinement, and enjoyment of the best oils. From our Resort we begin a trip that winds through the hills, between olive groves and vineyards, to discover this magical old world that still exists.Within 15 minutes drive from the villa lies the town of Scarperia, where an ancient tradition of creating hand-made iron cutting tools – knives, scissors, cutlery – is still very much a part of the town’s attractions. The town itself is worth the visit; before the autostrada to Bologna got built, it was the main trading center of the Mugello, The massive Palazzo dei Vicari (Vicars’ Palace) with its huge tower dominates the skyline, a Renaissance monument to Medici power.
But it’s the workshops that continue the ancient art of cutting sharp iron tools that brings us to Scarperia. It is these workshops and their art that has earned Scarperia – a neighbor of Borgo San Lorenzo and Vicchio – its renowned title: Town of the Sharp Blade. We hear of Scarperia as far back as medieval times; its profession was referred to in 1539, in the Statue of Knifemakers (Statuto dei Coltellinai). In the document, the profession was strongly regulated, with standardized methods of production and sales. This gives an idea of how important the artisan workshop was, both socially and economically, in the development of Scarperia.
The passage of years has not seen the end of this ancient tradition, or the passion with which it’s undertaken. Passed from father to son, it has survived to this day, and we still know Scarperia as the town where the sharpest, most acute blades are hand-forged. It’s here in the workshops of Scarperia that you can actually see their creation.
We visited the workshop of Saladini, where we watched the artisans create a beautiful knife from its very beginning. (You can see it virtually by scrolling the gallery photographs above, or on our Facebook page). The process is simple: first we chose our handle (in the photo the handle is of olive wood), then selected the rough blade. Its dimension depends on the kind of knife you want, such as a bread, or perhaps carving knife. The artisan puts the handle and blade together and proceeds to forge it over the hot fire. Ecco! The rough product emerges from the flames.
We then proceeded to the shaping of the handle, its polishing (with a piece of denim) and on to the precision sharpening of the blade, then to the final polishing of the iron and the finished product was there for us. It would normally go on sale in the workshop.
Since 1999 there’s been a museum in Scaperia dedicated to knives, where you can find the history, and also see the evolution of the hand-made knife over the past 800 years. Il Museo dei Ferri Taglienti (The Museum of Cutting Tools) is located in an old cutlery workshop within the Vicars’ Palace (Palazzo dei Vicari).
If you’d like to participate in the creation of a knife made especially for you, exactly as we’ve described it, we can organize it from Villa Campestri. It will be a day to discover the ancient art of forging blades, at the workshop of a traditional knife maker. You’ll watch and understand the fine artisanship of knife-making. Just to see it is lovely, but it’s also even more beautiful to join in the creation of a personal knife just for you, the result of an artistic and passion-filled tradition.
Autumn, mostly in Mugello, is a magical season for Tuscany: nature is painted in a thousand colors, the air becomes warmer and the light takes on golden shades. An ideal period for a holiday, where nature and history are the protagonists, and where it is possible to practice outdoor sports.
In Italy, food is cult and, depending on the region, traditional dishes can vary, from typical pasta dishes, such as tagliatelle lasagne and gnocchi, to specialties such as cheeses and desserts up to the infamous Tuscan recipe for wild boar ragù.
Milk is a “complete food” loved by young and old. A precious white nectar that becomes even more beneficial for health if of high quality. If you too are a lover of this white drink, discover with us the famous Milk Way in Mugello!
Mugello is an area rich in numerous medieval villages of incredible charm. Come with us to discover San Piero a Sieve!
When autumn arrives, the forest changes color and nature creates spectacular landscapes in which it becomes magical to immerse yourself. It is the Foliage phenomenon that in Tuscany offers truly unique emotions. Experience the Foliage in Tuscany and discover autumn walking in the most beautiful woods.
Bread throughout Italy is a fundamental food, always present on the table at lunch and dinner. But each region has its own specialties, discover with us the characteristics of Tuscan bread and why it is without salt.
The potato tortello is a dish that is part of the Mugello culinary tradition. Originally born as a poor dish, today it is a real gastronomic specialty made in numerous variations by Tuscan chefs. Discover with us the characteristics of the potato tortello of Mugello!
The Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort Blog opens a new space dedicated to the recipes of chef Roberto Zanieri. Every last Thursday of the month we will present one of his delicious recipes, easy to prepare and inspired by the good tradition of Tuscany. Today we begin with “Cabbage mini-pie with cream of beans”.