Why Hand Tooled Leather?

Inside Sangiorgo Factory


Nestled in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, is the must see territory of Franciacorta, steeped in tradition, rich history and craft. This land of unassuming charm once fought over for its fertile lowlands and stunning lakes, is now known for its vineyards. Today, Franciacorta’s wine cellars, that proudly bear the DOCG label, have transformed themselves in cathedrals of modern winemaking producing some of the best sparkling wines in Italy and in Europe.

While vineyard crawls are the area’s tourism of choice, we would encourage travellers to settle in to experience all the region has to offer. The Alps and Swiss border to the North provide ample opportunity for winter sport. While the undiscovered gem of Lake Iseo, with its stately vacation homes, reflects the rolling hills and olive groves that encompass the area.

And like many places in Italy, the region is steeped in craft worth exploring. While vine cultivation is the longest standing — spanning Roman, the Late Classical, and the Medieval periods — the region has also been known for its iron work and high quality fishing nets from the must-see Lake Iseo island of Monte Isola.

One of our favorite examples of the area’s modern era craft is the Sangiorgio Factory; an atelier of leather finery embedded against this rich countryside’s crenellated watchtowers. The workshop, in the riverside city Palazzolo sull’Oglio, houses over 14,000 items; belts, bags, bracelets, and key rings – all born from the fervid creativity of Roberto Pansa. They are examples of “bello e ben fatto” – beautiful and well made – and endowed with designs that anticipate trends.

Although his atelier is recognized by iconic fashion brands for producing quality and innovative elegance, Roberto remains charming and disarmingly humble as we sit with him over Espresso. Though he is by definition a designer, he prefers to be seen as a “transformer” of his beloved raw material, which, in its nuance, nurtures his ideas. Roberto likes to feel, smell and cast his eye over the skins, all the while mentally taking note of cues that ultimately lead him to innovation. He tells us he once created a luggage line inspired by an intricate locking system!

And it is the meticulous tooling and handwork he employs with leather that led him to create the gorgeous lattice shoulder bag we are honored to represent here at The Italian Collection. The inspiration for this rejuvenating carry-all with that touch of sporty chic, comes from Roberto’s action of braiding skins for belts. Roberto’s eye transformed the simple braid into a unique piece that required countless hours of research before going into production. The outer shell on its own was impractical, so he added a removable sleeve for small items.

Cristina and I delight to bring you this bag, so that it can be seen not only on the shoulders of fashionable yet pragmatic Italian women, but can also accompany worldly women in The States. We are proud to offer many of Roberto Pansa’s accessories at TheItalianCollection.com and encourage you to discover, innovate and create your own style!

Myriam and Cristina

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