A visit to Italy will typically include all the major sites, a bit of fun and lots of lovely road trips through the breathtaking scenery – but if you are truly interested in the culture then you can also include a visit to see how they make wine, design gold jewelry and craft leather bags and jackets.
Each of these crafts have been part of the Italian culture for centuries and in part defines who they are – excelling at their unique ability to design and create beyond the call of duty.
The leather tour at the Pierotucci workshop is all about a peek behind the scenes to see how these man and women actually put together a leather handbag from start to finish. The visit starts by explaining the different types of leather that the Pierotucci styles require including nappa leather, vegetable tanned leathers and even a colorful and delicate looking lambskin leather. Guests are encouraged to touch the leathers, feel the textures and learn how to appreciate the differences.
Then their native speaking tour guide proceeds to take them through the production process which starts with hand cutting the leather. This requires a special eye, especially when working with the vegetable tanned leather which will frequently show you the “vita, morta e miracoli” of the leather – meaning all of the creases, lines, scars and markings from the cow hide will become more evident. A trained hand knows how to move the pattern pieces around so that the final result is a homogeneous looking bag.
This cow obviously didn’t use any moisturizing cream. At least that’s what Enrico will the visitors looking at a hide that has lots of wrinkles in it as he guides them along the leather excursion tours at Pierotucci Italian Leather Workshop.
Next, the leather tour moves to the process of prepping the leather for assembly. This means finishing all the raw edges. Our Italian master craftsman will say “pelle è vivo” – the leather is alive. Actually what he is really trying to communicate is that leather will easily absorb humidity from the environment, so the sealing and buffing help ensure a longer lifespan.
The last step is watching the skilled man and women who assemble the bags. They start with the straps and handles, move to the linings, zips and snaps and end by putting it all together with the finished pieces of leather. They use a combination of traditional tools like sharp edged knives, needles, hammers, even pliers.
The pieces of thick leather will actually be hand sewn, otherwise there is an expert seamstress who will machine stitch the bags together.
And of course what is a holiday trip to Tuscany if there isn’t an opportunity to do a little bit of shopping! The fun part of shopping is knowing that these handbags are truly Made in Italy.