Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Leather in Florence

Other than its beauty and its art, leather seems to be Florence's main tourist attraction.  Every street and ever piazza contains at least a few leather shops, selling nice jackets, bags, belts, and whatever else that can consist of leather.  

Although Mercato Centrale seems to be the place to buy leather goods, a little bit of wandering and exploring led me to the ultimate place to not only buy leather, but to see artisans at work making fine handbags and jackets.  Within Chiesa di Santa Croce is the Scuola del Cuoio, a historic leather workshop, and definitely still active today.  

The main hall is the best part of the shop: lined with worktables and industrial lamps, one can see a number of artisans hammering and stitching away at raw leather to create fantastic works.  Although the products themselves were awe-inspiring--the suede jackets were amazing, except one would have to seriously think about the practicality of wearing them, especially during a sudden rainstorm--the focus on the artisans and the seriousness that they apply to their craft were reasons alone to see the workshop.  

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