Italian leather. The two words alone convey luxury, quality, and beauty. These eternal qualities of Italian leather are the result of a thousand-year-old tradition of craftsmanship and endless innovation that recognizes Italy as the undisputed world leader in the field.
What lies behind the gorgeous Italian-made leather handbag you covet? The leather industry in Italy is concentrated in three main districts: Veneto, Tuscany, and Campania. There, in family-owned tanneries, centuries of artisanal knowledge are handed down from generation to generation. Historically, leather-tanning dates to ancient times, when the vegetable-based process of using of tree branches and leaves to soften and cure hides was discovered. While the basic principles of vegetable tanning still endure, Italian craftpersons have been at the forefront of developing innovative techniques in materials sourcing, environmental protections, and modern tanning processes.
If you’re admiring the smooth leather of that contemporary Italian sofa, it likely comes from Arzignano in the Veneto region, which specializes in transforming cattle hides into materials for shoes and upholstery. The slinkiest of lambskins gloves may come from goods crafted in Campania region, which is famed for its sheep and goat leather. And Tuscany delivers the most elegant of leathers to designers of luxury fashion.
Here are some examples of the finest Italian leather creations to sample. And don’t worry. While Italian leather is delicious, fragrant and lovely to look at, unlike that other Italian import—pasta—it’s not fattening!