Usually, when I am in Florence, the only "laboratory" I visit is one that's dedicated to gelato- but on my last visit, I came across the super impressive "Scuola del cuoio" (School of leather) the largest leather laboratory in the city, housed in the old dormitory space of the Santa Croce monastery. Master craftsman hand cut leather in front of you while you wander from room to room eyeing all they have to offer. (From keychains to wallets to bags to belts to jackets to journals and home decor.) They also offer language and culture classes in addition to their classes dedicated to the craftsmanship of leather goods. I snagged a jacket in a saddle color (full disclosure: they didn't have black in my size!), and grabbed a bunch of handmade, one of a kind items as awesome souvenirs and gifts. It's the kind of artisanal shopping experience I always hoped to discover in one of my favorite cities.
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