Posted by: debrakolkka | October 20, 2011

Searching for Guidi

My friend Shan has a shop in Brisbane called Camargue that stocks wonderful labels from all over the world. As well as beautiful clothes from Easton Pearson, Dries Van Noten, Nom D and many others she sells Guidi shoes. Ruggero Guidi’s leather business is based in Pescia, not far from Bagni di Lucca. Shan stayed with me after a buying trip to Paris and we set off for Pescia to have a look at this business which has been in operation since 1896.

Guido Guidi, Giovanni Rossellini and Gino Ulivo were master tanners and shoemakers. They joined forces in 1896 to produce premium leather products. Ruggero Guidi carries on the tradition today. He shuns mass production to create leather goods that are one of a kind. He produces soft, supple leather in exquisite colours for other manufacturers.

His hand made shoes are truly special. Each pair is different. Only natural dies are used and each pair is indivually coloured and styled. They are not the conventional image of polished Italian style, but have a sturdy, rugged style of their own. They last forever and only get better with age.

We began our visit in the Pescia office where we were greeted by Alessia and Taro and the new puppy.

Allessia, Taro and Dia

There were only a few pairs of shoes on display as the showroom is having a bit of a makeover.

Guidi shoes

Next stop was the nearby leather tanning factory. The workrooms used to be right in Pescia, but the growing population forced a move further out. The wonderful old building is now being turned into other things. Part of it is a gym and the rest is waiting to be restored. The new factory is quite large. I found the process of leather making to be fascinating.The machinery was very interesting.
I have no idea what most of it was, but it was a hive of activity out there.

I don't know what this is, but it looks great

one of the dying tumblers

drying skins

gorgeous colour

finished skins

lots more colours

We then went into another area where the shoes were being coloured. The shoes are hand made in another factory in Vinci ( of Leonardo fame) and brought to Pescia to be finished.

the basic shoe

working on the shoes

hanging up to dry

The next bit was the best of all. We went back to the office and were taken down into the cellar to see the archives.

lots of shoes

I want the purple ones

bags and boots

great boots

Back in the office there was a wonderful photo of the hands of a leather worker.

hard working hands

Thank you Alessia and Taro for showing us the wonderful world of Guidi. The next post will be about lovely Pescia and the excellent enoteca they took us to.
If you live in Brisbane you can buy Guidi shoes at Camargue at Emporium in Fortitude Valley.


  1. thanks Deb, my favourite clothing shop in Brisbane too, I will make sure I notice the shoes next time I am in there.

    • Shan has a great selection of goodies. She is back now, get her to show you the shoes.

  2. WHAT a lovely post. Again. The drying pelts; are they large hides cut into smaller pieces or shoe shapes or are they small animals..although not seemingly appropriate they DID remind me of rabbit. You have the most wonderful connections, friends and interests. Those colours, you could eat them!!

    • It is difficult to see the size here, but they were actually quite large. I’m fairly sure they would be cow hides.

  3. Great craftmanship and timeless leathergoods. Thank you for sharing your visit with us.

    • It is wonderful to see people who are passionate about what they do.

  4. Did you buy some of those boots, Deb? I would have found them impossible to resist!!

    • We couldn’t buy them there as it was archive stuff. I really wanted the purple ones. I will just have to wait for Shan to get them in her shop.

  5. I like the purple ones, too. Fascinating post.

    • They are quite expensive, perhaps we could share them.

  6. Fascinating – I always love factories. Those shoes are very Shan.

    • They suit Shan’s shop very well.

  7. Thank you for this post, how I loved. Once, when I was in Milan, there was a shoe boutique (sorry I can’t remember now) there was a screen and showing the story of a shoe… How it is being made… It was so nice to watch it. I felt the same enjoyable moments with your post. Thank you dear Debra, with my love, nia

    • I would like to go to Vinci to see the actual shoe being made.

  8. I think I’m in love

    • Understandably so.

  9. This looks like a fascinating place, and their shoes look great. I’m going to have to remember the name Guidi.

    • They are available in only a few places in Australia.

  10. Hi Debra – you are great……this blog is just wonderful…fabulous information. The Guidi shoe factory will definitely be on my list of places to visit when I have a week in Lucca at the end of April 2012. I’m doing an art workshop there with a lovely Parisian art teacher, Pauline Fraisse. But it won’t be all work and no play…..will definitely find time to buy those boots!!!!! Fantastique!

    • Thank you for the lovely comments. I’m not sure whether you need an introduction to see the factory. I may be able to help.

  11. […] yellow shoe stood out at Guidi leather in […]

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