What is the leather district, what does it mean?


The Tuscan leather goods

Leather goods and Tuscany are linked by years of experience and skills matured and handed down from hand to hand. Leather craftsmanship has had a slow and widespread expansion throughout the region. 

But the Tuscan art of leather processing has very ancient origins. Let’s go together to discover how the Florentine leather goods was born and why it developed in this area calls the leather district

From the Middle Ages to the present day

In the Middle Ages you could smell leather all along the bank of the river Arno, from Florence to Pisa. 

Leather tanning operations have been known in Tuscany since the time of the Etruscans, but the real thrust to this sector will take place at the time of the Middle Ages, thanks mainly to the influences of the Republic of Pisa, (then one of the four maritime republics). 

The art of leather processing found its greatest expansion in Pisa, in 1200. Why? Because Pisa was at that time an extremely rich city of raw materials, especially because of the skills of Pisan merchants who thanks to the port were constantly in contact with Spain, Sicily and Sardinia.

From Pisa to Florence. After the conquest of Pisa around 1400 by the Florentine Grand Duchy, the rich Florentine families understood that leather was a sector that could make much. For this reason the Florentine nobles decided to invest in the Pisan leather industries, moving them physically from the maritime republic to Florence.

The leather in Florence

The production, tanning and processing of leather in Florence took place mainly in a specific area of the city, that is in the small alleys that joined Piazza della Signoria and Piazza Santa Croce. It is no coincidence that in that area there are streets with curious names such as Via dei conciatori, or Via della Concia, in memory of the shops linked to the processing of leather that were there during the Middle Ages. 

Little by little, a rather large area developed within which there were artisans specialized in the processing of leather. This area included Santa Croce, Fucecchio and Ponte a Egola. This area with time becomes particularly important as it is located near the river Arno, which means, quality of water used for processing and production of the raw material, and simplicity in the transport of materials. 

The leather industry has been one of the few sectors able to remain standing following the serious crisis that occurred in 1600. 

The leather today

Nowadays leather continues to be a very fruitful field for Tuscany. Both for the high quality of the materials used, and for the high manufacturing skills of Tuscan craftsmen able to create real works of art with their expert hands. 

The district of Tuscan leather affects 28% of the total processing of Italian leather.

Come and discover all our accessories, made with quality leather, characterized by centuries of experience and history of craftsmanship.