Italian Tannery Visit
Italy is renowned for its leather and at Ally Capellino we work closely with several of the tanneries lying below the ancient town of San Miniato in Tuscany. This area is the source of some of the world’s best veg tanned leathers. Three small towns, along the water supply of the River Arno, have grown up since the mid 1800s and developed a range of industries making and supporting leather production. Today there are over 500 leather related businesses in the area.
Our tanneries adhere to an ecological rule-book and employ skilled artisans and experts in their fields. From raw skins the leather goes through a 4 to 5-week process of many stages: salting to preserve, liming to clean, tanning, washing, drying, rolling, oiling, waxing and polishing to give the finished product. Tanning is the process where the raw skin is turned to a piece of hide, becomes stable and won’t biodegrade. Huge wooden drums slowly tumble the hides in a solution containing a combination of wood barks, often Oak, Quebaco, Chestnut or Mimosa. These agents are what give the original warm brown hues to the final product.
The leathers that we use are made to order. Our tanneries source most of their skins from northern Europe where good husbandry and climate benefit the product. The fact that no two hides are ever the same, together with the natural tanning, means that each of the resulting bags is unique, with slight variations proving their heritage. The leather gradually evolves, with colour often warming in response to light exposure, and a rich patina developing with constant touch.
Discover the complete Calvert Leather collection here.