The organization that represents all the Italian tanneries is U.N.I.C, "Unione Nazionale Industria Conciaria" (National Union of Tanneries Industry) , responsible for authorizing the use of the brands VERA PELLE (REAL SKIN) and VERO CUOIO (GENUINE LEATHER), registered and protected trademarks world wide, that constitute the real added value of leather goods produced in Italy, known and loved all over the world. The tanneries are all born as craft tanneries and even if with the passing of the years they modernized (taking on the features of real large industries), 90% of them is made of small and medium companies. The firms, that in the past were more than 2.000, are nowadays around 1.300, gathered in three major centre and provide jobs for around 18.000 operators. It should be noted that, with all the satellite activities that surround the tanneries, the above numbers triple, both as number of companies than of operators.
Where are tanneries and what do they produce
The tanning hubs in Italy are three: one in the north, in Veneto, one in the central northern area, in Tuscany and one in the south, in Campania. Over the years, any of the hubs has developed a strong specialization concerning the items produced.Genuine Italian leather tanned at Solofra, in Campania, is mostly known for its goat and sheepskin hides chrome tanned, which directly supply the producers of leather clothing and accessories as well as linings of footwear. Genuine Italian leather tanned at Arzignano, in Veneto, is known for its chrome tanning of bovine leather for footwear and leather goods. The most exclusive item are for sure large whole bovine hides, produced with the technique of wet white, soft but resistant, used for the production of furniture and car interiors. A type of processing very specialized that guarantees minimum fumes and smells.
The Tuscan hub, where vegetable tanned genuine Italian leather is produced
The most ancient and largest hub for number of companies and operators is located between Ponte a Egola and Santa Croce sull'Arno. It is well known all over the world for the cowhide leather and sole leather. Two ancient manufacturing ways, hand rafting and specialized, that are based upon the same principle: using natural tanning agents, the tannins, of vegetable origin that are on average environmental friendly. The development and safeguard of these techniques, besides having allowed the growth of consortia for protecting these products, has allowed this district to survive the various economic crises and is nowadays still number one worldwide.