Florence, Italy is a romantic city where you can behold Michelangelo’s David, visit the famous Il Duomo, or stroll through the Piazza del Signoria with its many sculptures and works of art. Florence also is home to Piero Tucci, an Italian workshop that specializes in high quality leather bags, handbags, jackets, and other small leather goods.
Piero Tucci was established in 1972 and currently operates on the outskirts of Florence, which is in the heart of Tuscany. Mr. Piero Tucci himself formed the company and gathered a small group of highly trained craftsman to provide high quality leather goods to local retailers and shops. The Piero Tucci name and reputation grew over the ensuing years, as did its product line and popularity, especially in Europe.
Today, the company has two retail shops, retail connections throughout the world, and a beautifully designed website that is both functional and a pleasure to peruse. Piero Tucci also has guided tours of their workshop, which would be a fascinating stop if in the area for a vacation. Piero Tucci sent BestLeather their Toscanella Leather Messenger Bag for us to review, which is in their Toscanella collection. This collection centers around the use of vegetable dyed Florentine Vacchetta Leather.
For those of us who have purchased a quality leather good recently, you may recall the aroma you are exposed to when you first open the box to pull out your anticipated item. There is something satisfying and pleasant to that leather scent, a scent saying, “Herein lies something really great.” It was no different when I first opened the box containing the Toscanella Messenger Bag from Piero Tucci. The smell of the leather was terrific, reminiscent of stepping into a brand new Italian sports car, but without the sky high price.
Perhaps this particular scent is indicative of the Vacchetta leather that Piero Tucci uses. Vacchetta leather is calfskin leather that has been vegetable tanned. Vegetable tanning is the process of tanning leather with bark and similar organic extracts and takes significantly longer than chrome tanning. Calf skin is known for having a tighter grain than cowhide. It is commonly used in high end shoes and similar products, because using calf skin leather allows for using slightly thinner leather while still maintaining durability. The leather for this bag is approximately three ounces thick. The combination of the thinner calfskin leather means that the bag is both durable and lightweight for a mostly leather bag.
Piero Tucci uses top-grain leather for this bag, which means that the outermost layer of the hide is removed and sanded down to provide a more even appearance. Top-grain leather is technically not as strong as full grain leather (which is not sanded down or altered in any way), but it is still commonly used in higher end bags and furniture and will still last many years. The leather used for this messenger bag feels solid, yet supple. It also has a subtle pebbled feel, which just lends to its European style.
STYLE AND UTILITY
As is common with many high end Italian goods, the Toscanella Messenger Bag has lots of style. This particular bag is made with Piero Tucci’s tobacco colored Vacchetta leather, but they also have seven other colors to choose from (including safron, ivory, navy blue, etc.). The color is beautiful and the design of the bag is simple and elegant. You open the tall flap to get inside the bag, which has a zippered pocket for your phone, keys, and other goods. There is no buckle or snaps to fasten the top flap down, but after using the bag I do not feel that it is necessary.
When the bag is empty, it is actually completely flat by design. There is no side panel that increases the width of the bag, which means that the back and front pannels come together into a single leather bead. At first, I thought that this design would not allow me to carry much in the bag, but it surprisingly large. I was able to get my 13” Macbook Air, with leather sleeve, large, thick notebook cover, and my smaller moleskine notebook cover in without a problem. It easily fits enough for a day at the office or a day around town, but still maintains a slim profile. If you have large files or binders to haul around, you may want to consider one of their larger messenger bags or totes.
The bag also has two exterior pockets. The back pocket has no zipper and is about 12” deep. It allows for easy access to items you need while on the go. There is no lining to this pocket, just the nice vegetable tanned leather. The front pocket does have a zipper that is tethered with a strip of leather, so that when you open the zipper, the strip folds out. This is a nice bit of styling that I enjoyed.
The main compartment has a cotton lining that is fun, vertically striped, and multi-colored. This pattern gives the bag a bit of a stylish edge. Both the interior and the front exterior pockets share this same lining.
HARDWARE AND STITCHING
The hardware that Piero Tucci uses is all metal, from the zippers, to the “D” rings, to the rivets. The rivets in fact are stamped with Piero Tucci’s logo, as is the base of the two “D” rings, that the strap is attached to. The strap itself is made from strong nylon, with a colorful orange strip woven in. Similar to the strap, the thread used to sew the bag together is also nylon. While not quite as durable as polyester thread, it is still the thread of choice for many high-end leather producers.
If you are looking for a bag that has a flare of European style, made with beautiful, durable leather, and that you can take to the office, to church, or around town with plenty of panache, then you’d be happy with the Toscanella Leather Messenger Bag from Piero Tucci.