since 1830

The history of Florence

The story of our company is tied to Florence.

In 1830, in Via de’ Cerretani, a shop selling accessories, evening bags, suitcases, walking sticks and fans, is born.

The shop was called Gilardini and soon became famous among the Florentine clientele. After the Unity of Italy when the capital was moved from Turin to Florence; the shop become more international. Famous among the Italian and European aristocracy.

Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the XXth century Florence becomes destination of the Grand Tour.

English and Americans come to study out and are fascinated by the artisans that work in our town. The art of leather goods (art of tanning) exists since 1282 and to see that the knowledge has been handed down through so many generations fascinates the foreign customers, in the shops this very old tradition is available.

Soon after the 15th-18th war Eugenio Ottino moves to Florence from Genova, he starts working in the Gilardini shop and after a few years he becomes the owner and changes the name to Ottino. Eugenio becomes passionate about leather goods and creates a team of artisans capable of creating prestigious products. The shop is much appreciated and continues to be a supplies of the Royal House.

When celebrating the 150 years of the Unity of Italy, Ottino was asked to show their production as proof of being a supplier of the Royal House.

Massimo Ottino starts working with his father Eugenio since a very young age becoming very passionate with: tannery and commerce.Having an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, Massimo a long side a classic production adds a fashion research. Unfortunately in 1966 on the 4th of November Florence is hit by a devastating flood. The muddy water invades the streets up to two meters high. The shops are destroyed and all their merchandize are ruined. This fate hits also the Ottino’s shop. Drawings, the all archive and merchandize are lost. Massimo reacts swiftly, he is not scared by the challenge of life and soon the shop is reborn a long side the town.

In 1978 Paolo, son of Massimo, goes to Japan for the very first time and starts Ottino Export. Paolo enhances the brand by creating a logo and patterns that still are used now.

In 2000 the historical shop moves to Via Porta Rossa, one of the smartest street of Florentine shopping.

Since 2012 Virginia, following the family tradition, is working with her father digitizing the brand to be in step with the time.

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