Man goes to shop, buys knives.
Relocating to Rome initially sounded like an interesting adventure for someone who is really into Italian knife design. Clearly Rome had to be the place to be (if you quietly ignore the blessed town of Maniago for a sec) for a feast of Italian cutlery craftsmanship and quality.
But once I arrived here - right in the middle of the national Italian holiday period, things quickly turned bleak. For an entire month I have been walking through Rome on foot scouting for interesting stores with absolutely zero success. Nothing is open and finding a store that sells anything of quality, even just kitchen cutlery, has been absolutely impossible, apart from the occasional market stall with shitty no name folders.
The two stores I pro-actively tried to locate where either wrongly placed on Google Maps or closed for the holidays/countless siestas. Finally today I followed the advice on an old BladeForums thread and took a taxi to Coltelleria Dolcimascolo on Via Gallia just on the eastern fringes of central Rome [map].
Dolcimascolo's website promised great things, I was, however, a tad skeptical as I arrived at the tiny storefront - the traditional minuscule Roman hallway-sized store set-up, just large enough for three US-sized adults with no sense of personal space.
Thankfully, the tiny shop was cramped with a fantastic selection of top European knife designs. Apart from the odd Benchmade and Spyderco, most of my favorite brands where there in decent numbers. Pohl Force, Extrema Ratio, LionSteel, Fox, Viper, Maserin, Bastinelli, Fantoni and a host of solid looking brands I have never heard of .
Freaked out that I might yet again venture out for hours, only to be greatly disappointed with a shuttered shop, I had both emailed and phoned the store owner who was extremely responsive and provided me with the opening hours (8:30am-1pm and 4pm-7:30pm). In person, the owner was, hardly surprisingly, not fluid in English, but very friendly and offered discounts on most models. Another guy in there proudly showed me his impressive collection on his iPad.
If it hadn't been for the language barrier I could probably have spent the entire day in there, fondling the Euro goodies, but things get awkward after a while, hovering about in a confined space, sweaty and incomprehensible to people. I zeroed in on the new LionSteel TM1 which unfortunately was only available in the micarta/black blade combo. I was close to having a Fuck It, I’ll Just Buy The Whole Lot Moment involving a Pohl Force Mike One folder and the new, hard to find Extrema Ratio Police III multi tool. The thought of the realities of the exchange rate however brought me back down to earth.
The highlights for me were the great selection of Extrema Ratios, especially the Compact models and the availability of plenty of folders that have long been on my wish list - namely Pohl Force and Fox. Finally seeing them all side by side gave a really good idea of scale - with some folders turning out to be surprisingly larger than I had expected (Viper Rhino, Extrema folders in general and the Pohl Foxtrot, etc)
I ended up with the LionSteel TM1 but could have been persuaded to get the Pohl Force Mike One. For my discrete apple-slicing needs I chose a small wooden scaled Maserin Favri over the olive handled LionSteel Opera. The drop point Favri from the Atti line was designed by Attilio Morotti and mine came in Desert Ironwood scales.
Not an outrageous shopping spree by any standard, but judging from the scarcity of choice here in Rome, odds are I will be back sooner than expected to get my nubby little hands on some more of those babies. Reviews coming up.