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Scarperia: Renaissance Fair

For many students, this is their first time visiting a Renaissance fair let alone the Renaissance fair in Italy. Scarperia was renovated and created for moral decadence, military and commerce purposes. The castle of nobles, not conquered but sold to Florence is ideal for its location with an elevated slope, which provides dominance over other areas. Scarperia, translates to steep slope. With 1,000 habitants, mostly workshop workers, Scarperia is famous for its production of knives, which originated from military reasons and has become a big part of its culture. Our guide Alberto, let us into the castle and gave us a tour of the castle, various types of knives, a spinning wheel used to sharpen knives, scissors known as female blades, and even shared an interesting story about how there were such things as love knives. Love knives, ivory and jewel like, are placed above the bed of a couple and in the case the relationship is not going well, one would use it to take one’s life with that very knife in the name of honoring and defending the relationship.

Then students were granted free time to roam the fair where there was a lot of activity to check out: archery, knife throwing, fortune telling, horseback riding, performances, and parades. The star of the show for many was the Scops owl, which select students got to pet, kiss, and hold. The owl was in an area that held various beautiful birds such as a snow owl, golden eagle, great horned owl, falcons, a buzzard, and a hawk. There was shopping for everyone: jarred goods, jewelry, books, and knives for sale, which also were offered free engravings. After a fantastic feast for lunch students got another tour from Alberto of the private castle gardens, which was secured with guards.