New artisan training hub in Florence

Enrolment now open for 2020 courses

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October 17, 2019 - 9:53

Two important players on the Florentine artisan scene are joining forces to become a world-wide hub for leather and crafts training. Bespoke shoemaker Stefano Bemer and leather accessories producer Scuola del Cuoio are both dedicated to helping the next generation of artisans learn skills and focus on quality. From 2020, they will be combining their course offerings, giving life to a new hub for modern artisans. Applications are now open for programs in either shoemaking or leather accessories-making.


Bags and accessories making course at Scuola del Cuoio


Since 1949, Scuola del Cuoio has been the leading academy in Italy for bag making and leather working. Many may know the store of the same name that can be accessed from inside the church of Santa Croce; this workshop was opened up thanks to the desire of the Franciscan friars to provide vocational training for the many war orphans post WWII. They called upon leather artisans Gori and Casini, families operating since the 1930s; leather was the logical choice in this part of town, as the Santa Croce area, thanks to its proximity to the Arno, was the center of leather tanneries since the 13th-century. Since then, more than 2000 students from more than 40 countries have attended the long term programs, available for ten or twenty weeks depending on the desired outcome – an introductory course or a full professional training.


Bespoke shoemaking course


Stefano Bemer started his company in 1983 with a goal no less ambitious than creating the perfect Italian shoe. His extremely precise method, that goes so far as to create even the thread used to sew shoes in-house, is what brought him fame as one of the best bespoke makers in the industry. When Daniel Day-Lewis took a 10-month sabbatical in Florence to learn the craft, he chose Stefano Bemer as his mentor. The master cobbler’s vision is continued after his untimely death by the company’s new CEO, Tommaso Melani, who established a training program that would ensure that Bemer’s unrelenting concept of quality would not be lost. By passing on skills to the next generation, the company both spreads the culture of bespoke and satisfies its own needs for qualified staff. Three levels of courses – the final one only upon invitation of a master craftsman – provide the full technical base required to become a professional bespoke shoemaker: the apprentice level, for students who wish to acquire a basic skill-set, lasts 3 months, while the artisan level consists of an additional 3 months after which the student will have all the skills to make a pair of shoes from scratch. Occasional summer courses provide the opportunity to focus on specific skills, like one on custom-made sneakers that will be held in July 2020.


Learning how to make bespoke shoes at Stefano Bemer


The two school’s courses have different professional aims, but a single vision, that of perfection. Teaming up in this first phase means that students will have the opportunity to share experiences during seminars dedicated to fashion history, branding and photography. This is the first step to creating a makers’ community based in Florence, founded on the importance of high quality handmade and bespoke products.


An “experience day” will be held November 28, 2019, at the Scuola del Cuoio, where those in Florence can see students’ works and receive further information about the courses. For those not in Florence, a Virtual Open Day will be held November 20, 2019.

Applications are now open for courses beginning January 27, 2020.


For information, please see:


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