Naples: the history of handmade gloves

The preciousness of the handmade leather gloves has distant roots: we discover the ancient art of the Neapolitan glove makers.

The history of gloves in Naples has deep roots: it echoes in the alleys that housed the shops, resounds with the noise of sewing machines, perfumes of fine leather from distant countries.
A Naples , handmade gloves are not any object, they are not a minor accessory. In Naples the gloves have an almost emotional value because they are covered with memories and tell of entire families in the past dedicated to sewing and manual packaging of beloved gloves all over the world.

Handmade gloves


The Neapolitan guantai were considered the best “European manufacturers” since the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. All over the world, the quality and beauty of the Neapolitan gloves were appreciated, made by hand, working fine leathers with the skill and knowledge handed down for generations.


It was the Borboni dynasty that encouraged local artisanal production in Naples: shirts, ties, precious fabrics used to make garments that inspired the name of the city of “Capital of Fashion and Elegance” . But Naples, just in this period, also becomes the “Capital of gloves” . The first shops opened in a street that is still called “Via dei Guanti nuova” , behind Via Medina. Right in the heart of the city, in the Rione Sanità , entire families specialized in the production of handmade gloves . Each of the components had a precise role and perfected their art in a specific passage among the more than twenty that were used to make a pair of gloves.

The district called “Sanità”

The district of Naples that gave birth to the great Antonio De Curtis, aka Totò , was the laborious fulcrum of the whole city. Alleys and shops full of artisans proudly brought the name of their family and their own gloves outside the Italian borders. Also Afragola, Casalnuovo and Casavatore housed tanneries, and other family businesses that competed for the final packaging of gloves, for example those who took care of the packaging and who took care of the labels.
About 94 percent of all made in Italy gloves came from the Neapolitan district. In fact, 40 percent of the production was destined for the national market and 60 was directed to the international market.

A Family Tradition

Packing a pair of handmade leather gloves has never been a simple process: the Neapolitan tradition wants more than twenty steps to arrive from the leather to the finished product. Naples has always been the city of wonders and contradictions. It was a beautiful paradox to think, at the time, that from old shops and cramped basements were refined and precious fashion accessories , purchased from all over the world.
The art of the Neapolitan glovei involved whole families: everyone learned to do his job in a careful and meticulous. Each work group consisted of those who designed the model, who cut, who sewed and who completed and finished the product. A true preview of the industrial organization, carried out in the family. The most important role was played by those who cut the skin after having carefully selected it: only the excellent cut guaranteed to use and enhance the characteristics of the leather.
Each family expanded to count tens and tens of operators. The air that we lived was group, solidarity and harmony based on the desire to “build” a good future , to conceive new goals, to project towards the unknowns , to come across new experiences, made of new markets and new challenges.

Naples: the history of handmade gloves

Postwar Crisis

As has happened in many other social contexts, even the craft has suffered a strong blow in the post-war period. A huge damage represented the excessive power of the economy of the East and of distant Asia. With the passage of time, unfortunately, the most ancient and strongest world-wide tradition of glove processing gave way to less refined workings, less complacent with fashion but extremely cheaper. Several shops closed their doors and only a few had the opportunity to continue their art by offering their talent to foreign producers who seized the benefits.

Andreano. Handmade leather gloves, from 1958 to Naples.

Nowadays, the world’s best glove makers are in Naples or come from. Fortunately, there are still some realities that base their daily work on the same importance of knowledge handed down and on the quality of human relationships.
Among the active bulwarks and supporters of the ancient art of the Neapolitan guantai there is Andreano . A story, handed down from father to son, which began more than sixty years ago and which continues to have the same desire today to make beautiful and quality gloves, taking care of every detail and following all the rules of the artisans in Naples for the creation of handmade leather gloves .