Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo – Bologna, Italy - Gastro Obscura

More than 200 years ago, Italians readying for the hunt, a battle, or a friendly feast would make their way to this small shop, where knives and munitions could be purchased or sharpened using a horse-powered whetstone. While the horses have since departed, Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo still sharpens knives and sells rare culinary implements for making regional Italian fare.

Opened in 1783, Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo is the oldest bottega in Bologna. Roughly translated as “Ancient Horse Shop,” the store’s name refers to its former equine employees. Centuries ago, a horse stationed in the then-courtyard would pull into motion a system of large, interlocking wheels that would be used to sharpen knives and swords.

Today, the shop still sells and and sharpens knives, but also offers an array of specialized cooking implements, some of which are difficult to find even in their region of specialty. From brass cutters used for making ravioli to stamps for anolini (a stuffed pasta from Parma) to torchio used to make the special bigoli (a thick extruded pasta from Veneto), Antica Aguzzeria Cavallo has rare finds for food-loving Italophiles alongside useful everyday items such as cheese planes for elegantly peeling off that perfect, razor-thin piece of parm.

Know Before You Go

The shop is just around the corner from Bologna’s two central medieval towers and next to the recently transformed indoor market, Mercato di Mezzo. The shop's hours are 9:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and 3:30 to 7:00 p.m. They're closed on Thursday afternoons and Sundays.

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