Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Scarperia: September with Diotto and Knives

September for Scarperia, a town in the Mugello area known in particular for its famous racing circuit, is a month of great festivals and celebrations. In September the Diotto is celebrated, which is a series of folklore and cultural events that act as a side show every year to the anniversary of the town’s foundation. This year for the 704th anniversary, Scarperia will culminate its celebration with the historical procession and Palio on 8 September, but there are other reasons why it’s worth visiting Scarperia in September. We’re duty-bound to begin with a few historical facts. Scarperia was founded by the Republic of Florence on 7 September 1306, but the celebrations of the event take place the day after to associate them with the heartfelt festival of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lady, which indeed falls on 8 September. Don’t miss out on the Palio, where the five neighbourhoods of Scarperia compete with one another at knife throwing, racing on the bricks, at tug-of-war, corsa delle bigonce (a fun contest in old wooden containers that were once used to gather grapes during the harvest) and palio della cuccagna (a typical local game). It’s the last Palio of the towns in central Italy. There’ll also be lots of fun for the kids. On 7 September a Rificolonata (a typical Florentine festival) will be held with allegorical carts. Like we said, the Scarperia festival doesn’t end there, instead it continues over the next few days with events for all tastes, such as guided tours of the archaeological site of Montaccianico, cabaret nights, shows, music, theatre and various other entertainments. When talking about Scarperia, knives deserve a special chapter all of their own, which are the stars of the one of the contests of the Palio, as we already mentioned. Scarperia is in fact one of the Italian capitals of artisan knife production. Here there’s a wonderful museum of cutting blades, which is open all year round in the rooms on the top floor of Palazzo dei Vicari. It’s well worth a visit and, like every summer, it also features a themed exhibition. This year it focuses on the Maremmano knife until 19 September. The exhibition set up in the museum of cutting blades is part of the annual edition of the exhibition of cutting blades, which has displayed the valuable artisan product of Scarperia for thirty-seven years at the same time of year that the town is celebrated: in September: Info: http://www.prolocoscarperia.it

(Portions of this article first appeared in "Toscana & Chianti News")

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