Florence is known for its abundance of leather outlets throughout the city, and so it would not be unreasonable to think that it is easy to find a reliable shop to get customised leather goods of a high quality.
So, after purchasing a belt buckle on my travels, I set out to San Lorenzo market to find someone to make a personalised leather strap for it. As it turns out, a lot of the stalls stock the same generic goods from suppliers and do not take any part in the creation process.
Just my luck, hundreds of shops and in each one I was met by a guy who soon had his tail between his legs when I asked him anything further than the price. You would have thought that making a leather strap was a piece of cake for the “leather experts.”
Feeling determined, I began to ask around, and it wasn’t long before murmurs arose of a little shop hidden away on a narrow side road behind San Lorenzo that may be able to help me out. After a while of searching, I finally found it.
Raffaello Leather Works was the name, and leather was the game. I was greeted by Sam, the very welcoming shop owner who immediately took down the details of my request. Unlike the other vendors, he did not question my requirements or even the possibility of doing it. Sam simply showed me the colours and grains of leather that I could choose from and then went about taking my measurements. We then hashed out the details of the stitching over a bottle of prosecco at the back of his shop.
The item I requested was a black and red reversible belt, 4cm wide, done in a corse grain leather with white stitching. This took one week to be crafted and delivered from Pisa, and came at a price of €40, which was reasonable considering that it was hand made and needed twice the amount of leather of a normal belt.
Raffaello Leather Works has an abundance of authentic Italian leather jackets, handbags and accessories of the highest quality and a customer service to match. It is also one of the few places you will find in the area that will take custom orders. Anything from completely new designs to repairs and fittings are accepted. Of course, price and time taken varies depending on the size of the job. If you are only in Florence for a short while and you want something customised, you should place your order as soon as possible due to the fact that items are made to measure in other cities and may take some time.
Raffaello Leather Works can be found at:
Via Borgo la Noce, 14r
Via Borgo la Noce, 17r
Via Canto de Nelli, 83
Via Ginori, 24r
Sam’s Cell Phone: 0039 388 499 0988