Artisan Quarter: Meet Alicia Roca

Leather artisan down the generations

Kris Garland
March 27, 2021 - 15:21

At the Artisan Quarter Association, supporting our members through the pandemic is our first priority. Our association was founded to raise awareness of the deteriorating situation for artisans and craftspeople in the Oltrarno and to privately fund our startup efforts through donations.



A true master of her craft, Alicia Roca hails from four generations of shoemakers and has been working with leather for over 45 years. A direct descendent of the Recchia family in Puglia known for their 150-year-old tradition of shoemaking, Alicia began her work as a young girl in her grandfather’s bottega. Her brand, Alicia Firenze (, evolved over the years and in 2012 she opened her bottega on via Toscanella, in the then artisan-packed neighborhood of San Frediano. Over the years, Alicia has been a mentor to many students, patiently teaching them the myriad techniques and skills required for the art of leatherworking.



Alicia Roca in her via via Toscanella bottega



Students quickly learn that even seemingly simple pieces require complex construction and planning. It is a painstaking process that requires time, precision and patience. With Alicia, patience is in great abundance and her students always come away pleased with what they have been able to accomplish under her careful tutelage. 



Every piece Alicia makes is custom-designed and skillfully brought to life. Over the years not only has she taught the joys of leatherworking to many students, she has executed countless commissions for individuals who appreciate fine workmanship and attention to detail. I arrived for class one day to see a newly finished commission for a chef: a beautiful red leather knife carrier. I had seen this type of carrier before, but never one as captivating as this! It was perfectly made and proportioned, with a gorgeous interior that could securely carry up to 15 knives. Its most striking feature, however, was the red leather exterior. Her client was thrilled. 





We are proud to have Alicia as a charter member of our association. Beyond the significant body of work she has produced, she is also a proud mother of two with two grandchildren. Her son Luciano, of Forza Leather, is also a member of the association, as is her daughter Ivana, who specializes in beaded accessories. 





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