Historical notes

The day a prehistoric man found out that he could use the hide of an animal, until then used only for food, to protect himself from the bad weather and from cold temperatures, the fascinating adventure of hide processing and leather production began.

We can all find traces of this adventure through thousands of years.


Raw hides normally used for the production of upholstery leathers are of bovine origin.

We must remember, though, that many other animal species supply hides and skins with specific characteristics suitable for shoes, leather goods or garment production.

In fact we have hides and skins from horses, goats, lambs and sheep, pigs, pekari, snakes, toads, lizards etc.

from raw hides to finished leather

In modern days as in the past, tanneries need to use large quantities of water.

This is why since the beginning, tanneries developed in areas with abundant water sites, particularly in the regions of Novara, Vicenza, Pisa and Avellino.

To give an idea why water is so important we shall consider that if we sum up the volume of hides, water and chemical products, water represents about 60% of the total, which means that the weight of water exceeds that of the hides!

Quality control

In order to verify the good quality of the process carried out on the hides, it is possible to make a series of laboratory tests which can allow us either to have the most objective possible judgement on the hides or to confront different samples, different articles, different tanneries with standardised checking methods and with reference values which are the same for everyone.

Here we will only look at the tests commonly used for upholstery.

Physical characteristics
of the finished hides

One of the main aims to obtain from the various operations of tanning is the reduction of the differences from hide to hide and from a single zone of the hide to another, but despite all efforts, it is not possible to have a real and complete homogeneity.

Even in the case of shoe leather, hides are worked, sold and divided in single parts (shoulders, sides, croupons) which have differences in characteristics and in prices.