In Via Fiano 12 in Borgo Campidoglio there used to be an abandoned carpentry. Since December 1st of last year it become home of “Calza di cuoio”, a social promotion association that includes an area dedicated to a museum about Native Americans, a laboratory for the production of items made using leather, a shop that sells those items, an area dedicated to worshop on how to work leather.
Soul of this space is Luca Gaidano, passionate about Native Americans since his youngest age. “Everything started when I was 8 years old” he tells us “reading the book “Indiani maledetti indiani” written by Piero Pieroni and Riccardo Gatteschi. Native Americans were living the way I would have liked to live. I have always been passionate about nature and the environment”.
The book is kept in the library of the association together with other books, some of them very rare, all about Native Americans. The highlight is represented by approximately 200 pieces, all originals and all results of 40 years of hard work. “A unique collection” as Luca Gaidano is telling us very proudly.
In the area dedicated to the production, Luca is making all kinds of objects using mostly leather but also wood, except clothing and shoes. For example you can find lamps, keychains, pillows and now also face masks! “I like to recycle leather. All the leather I use is waste from food production and not something elitist. I started when I was a student making necklaces and selling them on the beach during my holidays. Later I evolved and I started to make objects first for me and then I started to sell them”.
Alongside he grew his passion for Native Americans. He has been several times in the USA covering up to 9000 km during each trip. Several times he even considered to move there but then his life took a different path. He opened his first store “Calza di cuoio” in 1991 in Giaveno. Then in the Asti region, later on in Bardonecchia, until he arrived in Torino in Borgo Campidoglio.
“Right now the situation with COVID is dramatic because our business is not considered essential. I sell a dream and a story that is behind each item” he is telling us “I get attached to all my creations. In the beginning it was difficult for me to sell them. It is difficult to explain what’s behind each item, not only in terms of value, but also in terms of work. My hourly cost is 10 euros an hour. Otherwise I wouldn’t sell anything.”
Once the pandemic is over, he has a lot of projects. “Our goal is to promote knowledge using our hands. We would like to give classes again and then conferences and screenings and why not, one day invite some Native Americans to come to visit and talk about themselves . I always say it: I have been working for 43 years and I am still learning”
CALZA DI CUOIO
Via Fiano 12 – Borgo Campidoglio