Today’s post will be about our last trip in Florence.
We stayed in this beautiful city for three days! They were amazing.
We visited lots of interesting places: starting from Uffizi Gallery, to Ferragamo’s and Gucci’s Museum, to Liverano and Liverano Boutique, to Scuola Del Cuoio in Santa Croce.
The last one has been the most exciting one, and I’ll like to write few lines about it.Key word of this, is rigorously “fatto a mano”.
Scuola Del Cuoio is located behind the Sacristy of Santa Croce and can be entered through the Church.
Our tour lasted one hour, during the while was demonstrated the gilding of the leather with 22kt gold and was given an outlook on the historical and cultural background of the leather craftsmanship in Florence. So far, they explained as well the various techniques and materials used in their collections.
Scuola Del Cuoio offers a memorable experience in the heart of Florence’s leather craftsmanship, by sharing with us a Renaissance atmosphere.
First of all, I think it should be interesting for you to know some history about it.
Scuola Del Cuoio was founded after World War II through the collaborative efforts of the Franciscan friars of the Monastery of Santa Croce and the Gori and Casini families. Their mission was to give orphans of the war a way to learn a practical trade which to earn a living place. Because of this, Marcello Gori and Silvano Casini brought their craftsmen to Scuola Del Cuoio to teach their leather craft trade. Students were taught the differences between the various kinds of leather, the methods to cut leather by hand and began to create a variety of leather items ranging from handbags and briefcases to other small leather goods.
Since then, it has always been a great success: in 1950, Scuola Del Cuoio, due to the growing demand of fine quality hand-crafted products, started exporting its products abroad.
Key elements of the structure are: quality of its products, the unique location, and the commitment to tradition which has made it famous.
It’s one of the most important laboratory of the town where clients can witness the artisans create the leather goods in the midst of centuries-old history.
Today, Scuola Del Cuoio continues to enroll students and offer scholarships to need-based applicants. Here are held different types of courses: from hours to six months courses, and are organized different types of classes, from designing and pattern making, to analysis of the materials, to leather craftsmanship, or, why not Italian language and culture classes.
Their tradition consists in following the centuries-old Florentine tradition of placing the master craftsman and the apprentice side-by-side during everyday activities.
After visiting the upper floor of the laboratory, the guide brought us downstairs were we could meet some students from the classes. Here, we started touching and analyzing different types of leather. It wasn’t so easy to understand the type of leather we had in front. But from the consistency we could easily differentiate:
- Deer skin, very soft but delicated, used for jackets, arriving from Virginia. It has an amount of 11€ for square foot;
- Lamb skin, which is the softest skin ever because of its “nappatura”. It comes from South Africa and has an average cost that goes from 5 to 9€ for square foot;
- Goat skin, not a special leather, but useful to cover items, because can be easily adapted. It comes from Italy and costs 2,5€ for square foot;
- Ostrich skin, very expensive, recognizable for its tanneries. A good artisan should be able to cut this elements and keep its properties. It can cost more than 30€ for square foot, and it comes from South Africa;
- Calf skin, very resistant. It can be textured, and can become as an alligator skin. The design, by the way is very precise, so this can be a great way of recognizing real alligator skins from fake ones. It comes from Argentina and the cost is from 3 to 5€ per square foot.
- Exotic skin, such as reptiles. The most popular are the one of alligators, from Mississippi and Nilus. The design is always different. According to a law, signed in Washington in 1976 today it can be only used leather coming from the farms. They arrive from the tanneries with a code and should provide all the information to the client, providing a document called Cites, where all the detailed are signed in. Without this, the item could be confiscated. This of course is to protect animals. The cost depends on the belly of the animal, which is the largest part, and goes from 20 to 30€ per centimeter.
Why not going for a visit?
Hope to have stimulated your curiosity 🙂