What to do in Scarperia, a “terra nuova” in Mugello
From the feudal Lords to the Mugello Circuit
Scarperia is located in the heart of Mugello about 35 kilometres from Florence. The hamlet was born in 1306 when the Repubblica di Firenze, that was in a period of big growth, decided to create an outpost in this area ruled since many years by the Counts Ubaldini. So, in 1306, the Ubaldini’s Castle of Montaccianico was destroyed and the building of a “terra nuova” (new town) was started. This hamlet in the beginning was called Castel San Barnaba; the name “Scarperia” come from the kind of place where it’s located: Scarperia come from “scarpa” that means shoe, and the town is located “at the shoes (or feet)” of the mountains Appenini.
As the others “terre nuove” (San Giovanni, Castelfranco di Sopra, Terranuova Bracciolini and Firenzuola) Scarperia has a very smooth urban plan with a central square and streets running parallel or orthogonal.
Today Scarperia is considered one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy and is famous for the production of knives and for the Mugello Circuit (one of the MotoGP’s race trakcs) located just one kilometre from the city centre.
What to see and what to do in Scarperia
Palazzo dei Vicari
The visit to the city centre of Scarperia is focused most of all to the exploration of the main square and its monuments. Here we have the Palazzo dei Vicari, the most important building of the hamlet; for centuries it was the house of the Florentine government as documented by the many coat of arms on its facade, each of these emblem represent one governor from Florence, the Vicario. Among these coat of arms, definitely impress those in glazed terracotta from the Della Robbia and Buglioni workshops. On the right, the high bell tower with clock completes this interesting facade.
In the atrium of the building are other coats of arms and two 14th-century frescoes by the Florentine school, “L’incredulità di San Tommaso” and “Madonna in trono con Santi“. Inside the palace we find other frescoes as “San Cristoforo” and a “Madonna con Bambino e Santi“. Visiting the palace is also possible to admire the tower’s clock mechanism that appears to have been created by Filippo Brunelleschi.
Museo dei Ferri Taglienti
The Palazzo dei Vicari houses the Museo dei Ferri Taglienti. The museum is organized in five sections focused on the history and the artisan production of the knife in Italy and in Scarperia. The visit also includes a Workbench at which visitors can experience firsthand to fit a knife. The last activity proposed by the Museum is the guided tour of the Cutler’s workshop, where sometimes practical demonstrations are carried out.
June – September: wednesday-sunday and holidays 10.00-13.00 and 15.30-19.30
October – May: wednesday-friday 10.00-13.00; saturday and holidays 10.00-13.00 and 15.00-18.30
Groups and schools could also possono book a visit at other times by contacting the Pro Loco di Scarperia (tel. 055-8468165; email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tickets: regular 5 euro; reduced 4 euro; kids (7-14 anni) 3 euro; groups (at least 15 people) 3 euro; schools 2,50 euro; family (at least 2 adults and 1 minor) 10 euro; free for under 6 years, disables, turist guides.
Across the square is the Prepositura dei Santi Jacopo e Filippo and the cappella della Madonna di Piazza. Both of these churches preserve some art works as a crucifix attributed to Andrea Sansovino (inside the Prepositura) and the Madonna col Bambino attributed to Jacopo del Casentino located with some frescoes inside the chapel.
What to see around Scarperia
In the municipality of Scarperia is definitely worth visiting the extraordinary Pieve di Sant’Agata, one of the most important monuments in Mugello. A short distance north from Sant’Agata, you can get to the hill where are the ruins of the Castle of Montaccianico. The site is the subject of archaeological excavations conducted by the University of Florence and sometimes guided tours are organised to the fortress.
How to get to Scarperia
By train and bus: the closest train station is in San Piero a Sieve (4km) from there, take the bus line 303 by Autolinee Mugello Valdisieve (the line 303 links Florence, San Piero, Scarperia, Firenzuola and Giugnola).
From North and South: A1 Highway till Barberino del Mugello, then continue in direction of San Piero and Borgo San Lorenzo for 10 km; near San Piero turn in direction of Scarperia.
From Florence: take the Via Bolognese and continue on Strada Regionale 65