25 February 2022

The prime minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, paid an official visit to the leather manufacturing cluster at Santa Croce sull’Arno in Tuscany on February 24 as part of a wider tour of the region, reports Leatherbiz.

He also visited a number of finished-product factories near Florence, including one run by luxury brand Ferragamo (pictured).

Speaking at a reception in Florence afterwards, Mr Draghi said the production environment the leather industry has in Tuscany was a good example of the benefits that productive and commercial activities can bring if they are rooted in local cultures.

“This isn’t only about links to external markets,” the prime minister said, “but also about important links that these activities can have with the local area. They are an expression of companies’ willingness to invest in technology and in social capital, to take a long-term view.”

He went on to say that Tuscan companies’ expertise in producing leathergoods showed this well. “The quality of the materials this sector uses helps to set it apart,” he said, “and this is a benefit of being close to the Santa Croce tanning district. It also benefits from the high levels of skill and artisan craftsmanship that come from centuries of tradition, enriched further by creativity and by the research that the sector’s academies and institutions carry out.”

Mr Draghi said this combination of qualities had allowed the leather sector in Tuscany to quadruple its exports in the last 20 years. “And after the slowdown that resulted from the pandemic, this sector is now heading towards a new period of vigorous growth,” he concluded.

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