On my hunt for awesome knife shops in Italy I left Rome and continued my search in the Milan area. After a helpful hint from LionSteel's Gianni, I finally arrived after dragging my family along on a two hour trip through Milan to the small town of Busto Arsizio where Coltelleria Collini have their store.
On the outside, it didn't look like much, but the inside revealed an impressive collection of hundreds of knives covering all walls.
I have been surprised by the little availability of Italian knives in Italy, but here I was presented with numerous Italian brands as well as a good complement of international makes.
This was the most complete collection of Pohl Force I have ever seen - with the Police tools, neck knives and most of their folders on display. They also carried limited edition Extrema Ratio fixed blades that I had never seen before. Sadly they also dabbled in sad Harry Potter merchandise and swords.
The service in here was great with two knowledgable chaps manning the counter. Their set up (magnetic mounts behind glass cabinets) made for very easy demos and plentiful knife fondling on demand. Clean display and good lighting, even if a bit too backlit. No prices on anything, but the guy was quick to check for me.
Their online store is impressive and they have a comprehensive catalog that all knife aficionados should download - it has consistent photographs of each knife held in hand which is a fantastic way to gauge real life sizes and do comparisons.
I had mentally prepared to spend a good chunk of cash in there, so I took my time. I had a good look at the new US-designed Fantoni folders, but the G10 grip-overload was a little much for me. I also skipped the many mega agro combat fixed blades as I will have to haul my collection to London at some point - never sure how to explain a stash of swords in my luggage to the border police.
I finally had the chance to compare the LionSteel M3 and M2 - opted for the smaller M2 olive with its beautiful sheath. I backed out of the Extrema Ratio Police Evo (too expensive) and BF2. I was close to settling on a FoxUSA Olympian folder with the beefy cocobolo handles, but it was a bit too chunky.
In the end I started suffering from the Blade Blur - simply too much choice and too little wallet. I grabbed the M2, and my evergreen wish list item, the Pohl Force Mike One. Disoriented and fatigued I pointed to the Anso Titanium Flipper and that went in the bag as well. Top it off with the latest issue of Coltelli, and I was off.