Italian leather is often considered to be the best kind of leather in the world. Many designer brands, such as Gucci and Prada, create purses, shoes, belts, jackets and other items from this material. Some of the world's best furniture makers create high-quality couches and chairs using it as well.
Most traditional leather comes from the hide of a cow, but Italian leather is often made from the hide of ostriches instead. Ostrich leather is thicker and more durable than traditional leather. Leather made from ostrich hide also has larger bumps on the surface, creating a "goosebump" appearance. Products made from cow, lamb, or other types of animals may also be considered Italian leather, however, if they are produced in that country.
Leather from Italy is also traditionally known for the quality of its craftsmanship. Generally, it is "full grain" leather, which is made from the very best raw hides, so that they do not need to be sanded to get rid of imperfections. Full-grain leather is tougher and more durable than other types of leather, and as it ages, it gains a beautiful sheen.
Because most of this leather is of such high quality, and can stay in beautiful condition much longer than other types of leather, it can command a premium price. An Italian leather purse, made from ostrich hide, can easily cost several hundred US dollars (USD) or more.
It is important to consider that the term "Italian leather" does not rely on any particular standard, and so the phrase itself cannot guarantee that the leather will be of the highest quality. Rather than paying attention to the term itself, consumers should consider whether the brand is known for its quality, and what type of hide the leather is made from. If possible, shoppers should try to see the product in person before buying it to make sure that it's of the expected quality.