Destination: Italy: Florence
Scuola del Cuoio
To the left of Santa Croce as you face it is a path leading a small courtyard containing one of Florence’s best-kept secrets: the workshop and boutique of the Scuola del Cuoio. In this guild and school, founded by Franciscan friars after World War II, you can watch leather being turned into everything from handbags to belts, in many different colors, and then buy the products in the small boutique, one of whose walls bears photographs of such famous past clients as Princess Di, Grace Kelly and Barbara Bush. Ask the artisans to personalize your purchase with a monogram in gold leaf. Those serious about learning the craft can enroll in a six-month leather-making (and language) course; the Scuola also offers three-hour courses in cutting, assembling and finishing book covers.
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