Bottega Simone Taddei

As you walk into Bottega Simone Taddei, you don’t know where to rest your eyes. You are greeted by the window display, showing off his beautiful leather boxes, hand crafted with the utmost attention to detail and following Florentine tradition.

As you step in, your eye catches the curious piles of wooden molds in every shape and size imaginable. Then, you see Simone, smiling as he stands at his work table covered with stacks of leather, papers and notecards from friends around the globe. This is his world. 


"E’ un museo qui"

He welcomes us saying, “it’s a museum in here,” as he shows us a photo of three generations of artisans; his grandfather, his father and a younger version of himself. His workshop is in the heart of Florence’s historical center, just steps away from Dante’s house. Here, you can find him working tirelessly, often late into the evening, trying to preserve his family’s legacy and the Florentine tradition of leather artistry - Cuoietto Artistico Fiorentino.


"Ne faccio tesoro!"

In 1937, Simone’s great grandfather, a cobbler, laid the groundwork for the family business at a time when there were around one hundred leather artisans working in Florence.

After spending summers helping out in his grandfather’s and father’s workshop, he was inspired to follow in their footsteps once he finished school. With this decision, his grandfather was overjoyed, however, his father was hesitant, telling Simone that he didn’t know what he was getting into.

Thinking back, he says, “I treasure the knowledge they gave me.” And regarding the words of his father he says, “I’ll never be as good as my father.”


"Sono affascinato dalla roba che non capisco"

What started as a production of jewelry boxes and cigar cases has now become a workshop that produces everything from frames to business card holders.

Simone has never forgotten the foundation of the family business but continues to create and push himself. “I am fascinated by things I don’t understand.” He loves a challenge and creating new forms or testing new pigments gives him the opportunity to test his limits. 


Simone is proud to show off his creations and share his creative process with us. It’s easy to see his passion is connecting directly with his customers.

“Meeting new people is always a surprise and is one of the things I like best about what I do; the first impression, their look, their watchful eye, seeing their interest…”

Simone genuinely loves people and judging from his workshop, the feeling is mutual. Notecards, paintings, and knick-knacks adorn the walls, all gifts from clients who felt a connection with the artisan and stay in touch. He remembers them all.


In Simone’s workshop, the antique tile floor shows noticeable wear from years of him walking the same path from one side of the work bench to the other. “I’m not an artist, I’m not a genius, I’m no one, just an artisan.” Simone is humble, as many Florentine artisans are, but works tirelessly to preserve a tradition.

The craft of a leather work requires weeks of effort and an arduous thirty-two step process for just one piece.


He hand picks the raw leather from nearby tanneries and is fixated with even the smallest flaws. In a year, he says he is only truly satisfied with just 10 pieces!

Il fiorentino è sempre ultra critico di se stesso...Florentines are always very critical of themselves. Living and working in the cradle of the Renaissance, it is easy to understand his perfectionism.


"Fa parte della storia di Firenze"

Simone’s pieces represent Florence. The colors, the shapes, everything is inspired by the city itself.

Riding his bicycle through the empty streets of Florence in the morning on his way to work, Simone is inspired by the air of Florence. A church, a fresco, everything speaks to him. He says his pieces are “a part of Florentine history”.


When a client brings home one of his pieces, they are bringing home a memory of their travels, a piece of Florence herself. Not only is there a part of Florence in his pieces, but also a part of Simone.

“You live with it, you spend time together and when it’s finished and it came out well, you are happy”. He becomes attached to his works, sometimes he says he is even sorry to sell a piece. 


"Gli artigiani tra un po’, non ci sono più, il mondo va avanti"

Today, Simone can count only three or four remaining workshops and emphasizes to us the importance of resilience. Florentine artisans have to be resilient and maintain centuries-old traditions – “dobbiamo resistere!”, we must resist – he says.

He feels a strong sense of responsibility to carry on a craft that represents Italian history, life and culture along with high quality craftsmanship. 

In a little while, artisans won’t be around anymore, the world is moving forward”.