Tuscany

Tuscanian knives

Tuscany (Toscana in Italian language) hosts some of the most important historical knife towns in Italy.

This beautiful region, in the central part of the country, is known mostly for its art cities, for its cultural heritage and for the beautiful landscapes. Millions of tourists come to Tuscany every year to visit Florence, Siena, Pisa…or to walk in small villages literally full of historical monuments and works of art.

Tuscany still have traces of antique cutlery production centers, among them: Montefioralle (Florence), Raggiolo (Arezzo), Figline Valdarno (Florence), Monterodondo Marittimo (Grosseto), Scarperia (Florence), Pistoia.

For some ot them, these traces just consist in generic quotes on ancient documents, for others we still have the knives. There are moreover some models identified by collectors and experts as Tuscan, for whom the exact location of production is still unknown.

Scarperia, a small town not far from Florence, active in this field since medieval times, became from the last decades of 1800, the fulcrum of knife production for all central Italy, with a process of collecting skilled workers and models from other areas. Sometimes the knives were simply copied but more often they were reinterpreted with different results in terms of aesthetics.

Scarperia became, in this way a sort of conservation center of ancient models,  with the creation of catalogues used by knife makers to sell their products. Every knife was associated with a name, sometimes referred to the place of origin, some others just to the main market area.

What about the other cutlery production towns?

Figline Valdarno, in Florence province,hosted five families involved in knife production. There are some well known models from this town.

Raggiolo, in Arezzo province, was a well known production center.

Pistoia with a production of a peculiar duel knife, in addition to work knives and surgical instruments

And local active production of simple work knives in some small villages in the costal area of Maremma (in particular in the small village of Monterotondo Marittimo) and on Alpi Apuane mountains, maybe connected in their origins with the production of the inner part of the region.

Tuscany knives

The main features of  Tuscan knives

Apart from the aesthetics characteristics of the standard models, in Tuscan knives you may generally find the following technical features:

Tuscan traditional knives hardly have a blade lock system, as very strict laws prevented the production of these models often used in fights and in duels.

 – Tuscan knife makers however occasionally produced that “outlaw” knives, with blade blocking systems, without signing them. These are the rarest specimens.

– The blades usually were, according to the laws, shorter than 14,6 centimeters, but even here there are some exceptions

Most part of the knives had a slip joint mechanism, but basic work models often lacked a real spring. In these type of knives the blade in opening position was supported just by a thick iron band wrapped around the handle.

Wooden handles are a big part of Tuscany antique production, both for work knives and defense ones. Boxwood was, in this case, the most common material.

In Scarperia the main material for the handles was cow horn, often heated and then bent. Boxwood was also used, but for minor value models.

The antiques knives had a handle with monolithic structure (the horn was bent and cut to receive the spring and the blade) while the newer models often have a handle made with metal liners.

knives of Scarperia

Tuscanian knives – List of models

  • Coltelli “a stile” (tre pianelle, Calabrese di Scarperia and other similiar models)
  • Maremmano of Scarperia
  • Gobbo of Scarperia
  • Zuava of Scarperia
  • Fiorentino of Scarperia
  • Senese of Scarperia
  • Napoletano of Scarperia
  • Calabrese of Scarperia
  • Mozzetto of Scarperia
  • Sardinian type knives of Scarperia
  • Wooden handle knives of Scarperia
  • Caccia Mugellano of Scarperia
  • Pistoiese
  • Knives from Pomezzana
  • Knife from Monteretondo

Here you can find pictures of Tuscanian knives

Do you want to read about other regions knives?