In Florence, shopping for leather goods is a veritable smorgasbord. You can find it in luxury boutiques and raucous street bazaars, private workshops and sidewalk trinket vendors. But navigating the city’s many opportunities to purchase leather requires some knowledge. Here’s how to make the best leather purchases — and avoid getting ripped off.
Despite the fact that preparing animal hides for leather was once viewed as unsavory work, Florentines have long had an international reputation for quality products. And that includes leather bags and jackets.
If you can buy a piece directly from the maker, that’s the best bet for the highest-quality leather souvenir. However, this is only possible when purchasing small items like boxes and change purses. For larger pieces, you’ll want to shop in a boutique that guarantees a made-in-Italy product.
To guarantee authenticity, look for labels with the Arte dei Cuoiai logo — the name of Florence’s leather-workers guild that dates back to medieval times. The guild was formed to protect the craft and ensure workers were honest, which helped build a leather-making industry that became world-renowned.
A few shops that carry gorgeous leather are Cuoieria Fiorentina (Via Panzani), Pratesi (Piazza Pitti), and Casini (Piazza de Pitti). For a great jacket, head to the shop of a family-owned firm that has been producing clothing since 1885. The company carries both menswear and womenswear, including beautiful leather jackets and shoes. The company’s website offers detailed descriptions of their production process. florence leather bags