Leather handbags in general are known for their high quality. They are associated with elegance and style and are timeless classics that complete the SENREVE woman’s wardrobe. But, what you might not know is that there are many different types of leather.
When it comes to quality, Italian leather truly stands out from the rest due to the unique manufacturing process as well as the history of craftsmanship passed down for generations. It is not mass-produced and every handbag made from Italian leather is unique in and of itself. If you are looking for a new handbag, going with Italian leather will not only give you the most sophisticated look, the piece will also be a staple that will last an entire lifetime.
If you are interested in Italian leather, read on to learn more about what makes it the very best material for quality handbags.
What is Italian Leather?
The power of craftsmanship is the common thread that runs through every Italian leather product ever made. This knowledge and passion create a very special handbag that is high quality, beautiful, and unique.
Technically, any leather manufactured in Italy can claim to be “Italian Leather.” But that’s not what we mean. Italian leather does not, in fact, necessarily need to be produced in Italy. Rather, it's the method of tanning, called vegetable tanning, that makes Italian leather what it is.
Vegetable tanning is unique because it’s an organic method of hide tanning that relies on natural tannins from vegetables or other plant tissue. It is the oldest and most complex tanning method.
Finally, Italian leather is always full grain, which gives it the highest quality and durability. Read below to learn more about quality differences in leather, based on different sections of the cowhide.
When looking for Italian leather handbags, it’s important to do thorough research before buying. Do not rely on the tag alone. Look at the manufacturer’s website in-depth, or ask a sales representative. Genuine Italian leather handbags are in investment, and being highly informed before purchasing will ensure you get the handbag of your dreams.
Reasons to Carry an Italian Leather Handbag
- They are extremely durable. The unique vegetable tanning process used to produce Italian leather leaves the final product more durable than other types of leather. Even if you plan to use the bag as your everyday handbag you can rest assured that if it’s made from Italian leather, it will be able to withstand not only the test of time but also all wear and tear it might go through. Even if it does get nicked or scratched, they can easily be wiped away with a microfiber cloth.
- Each piece is unique. As mentioned earlier, every piece of Italian leather is unique and will have distinctive natural markings. This means that no two pieces of Italian leather will ever look 100% alike.
- They will last a lifetime and will always be fashionable. No matter how much fads change over time, Italian leather handbags will never go out of style. The beloved material has been around for centuries. When you purchase a high quality product like Italian leather, you are buying a bit of fashion history that will maintain its charm and sophistication for years to come. Just look at our bestsellers--all Italian leather handbags with that timeless, elegant look and feel.
- They are very easy to maintain. One of the main reasons Italian leather is so popular is due to how simple it is to maintain it and keep it looking new over time. Handbags that are not made from leather usually lose their appeal over time. Italian leather handbags, though, are just the opposite. They get better with age and require little care to do so. Maintenance is simple and you can use a damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and dirt.
- All materials are biodegradable. There are no synthetic materials or chemicals used in the production of Italian leather. This means that out of all of the leathers, it is the most organic and natural and, if put into the ground, it would easily degrade after a few years.
All of our genuine leather handbags at SENREVE are made from 100% true, full grain Italian leather, leaving them with a soft, supple feel and a uniqueness that matches the sophistication of each expertly handcrafted bag. Check out our lineup of Italian leather handbags here, or keep reading for additional info on the history of Italian leather and the different types of leathers there are.
History of Italian Leather
The process of leather making in Italy dates back to the year 1000 in Sicily. Since, then production evolved tremendously and gained respect for its durability and quality, ultimately making Italy a leading country for leather production. The main regions of production are Tuscany and Marche. SENREVE’s artisan factory is in Tuscany, Italy.
The progressive era during medieval Italy created the perfect environment for leather tanning to become extremely popular. Because the vegetable tanning process was a very well-kept secret, many guilds were formed as further protection to the technique that was passed down for many years from generation to generation. Even today, the true technique is still a protected family secret.
Florence, which is in the Tuscan region, has been famous for leather production for centuries. In the historical district of Santa Croce you can find small leather shops all over. In fact, during the 13th century, Santa Croce was the home to a majority of the tanneries in Florence. This was mainly due to the area's proximity to the Arno river, which provided a supply of the clean water necessary to produce high quality leather.
However, the process of making leather left behind a rotten smell that was not appealing to the citizens in the area. Due to this, the city of Florence moved the leather district away from the town to a new area called Santa Croce sull’Arno, which still sits along the Arno river and continues to be known today as one of the best tanning districts across the globe.
Italian leather’s rich history is what helps make it so special today. Leather has been a staple of Italy for centuries, but more importantly, it’s been a huge driver to its economy and culture. The next time you see a handcrafted, Italian leather handbag, remember, the craftsmanship is still a family secret to this day, and no one outside of those families truly knows how it’s done.
4 Basic Types of Leather
- Full Grain Leather. This type of leather comes from the top layer of the cowhide. It is the most durable and stain resistant. Because it comes from the top layer of hide, it's more exposed to the external environment where the cow is interacting. This means it has the most beautiful imperfections that give each product derived from it a special kind of uniqueness. All Italian leather by definition is full grain.
- Top Grain Leather. Top grain is the second highest leather grade on the market. As the name suggests, this type comes from the top layer of the hide and is usually sanded to remove any imperfections. It tends to be more flexible and smoother than full grain, but does have elasticity that can cause it to become permanently stretched out over time. Common uses are for nubuck.
- Corrected Grain Leather. Also known as split leather, this type is produced from the remaining layers after the top is split off. It does tend to be tougher in texture, which makes it ideal for applications where softness is not required. Similar to top grain, it is also sanded to remove any imperfections and undergoes a process of embossing to recreate the pattern found in full grain.
- Bonded Leather. Created from the leftovers of the hide, bonded leather usually is coated with a layer of polyurethane or latex and then painted to give it a more natural appearance. This type of leather is the lowest quality and usually also the cheapest. Many argue that because it has a layer of plastic, it is not truly genuine leather.
Italian leather is unequivocally the best leather there is. Buying a handbag made from Italian leather is not only a savvy investment, it’s a statement to your style and wardrobe. The benefits of Italian leather are endless, but the best characteristic is that an Italian leather handbag is a classic, timeless addition to any wardrobe that maintains its elegance regardless of changing times or styles. Read more about our leathers here.