The Medieval and Renaissance tanneries continued the tradition of the tanning bath, meaning that the hides were immersed in a solution of tannin and water for weeks
The Medicean court required by law for the hides to be left in contact with Chestnut tannin for at least 8 weeks, under penalty of the payment of 2 shields per hide.
The craftsmen used plant extracts in different ways, not only for vegetable tanning but also in the dyeing process of leather and fabrics. The tannins were used as “mordant substances”, i.e. as stabilizers of the pigments used to dye the fibers. The boiling phase to fix the color was called “staining” and was mainly used with blackberry leaves, oak wood, chestnut wood or birch and nuts.
From Galls tannin, they obtained a dark tint that was used also as ink. During this period, the use of natural extracts took place on the basis of direct experiences, intuition and ancient traditions, up to the boundaries and the suggestions of alchemy.
This enhances the figure of the craftsman-manufacturer, able to take and transform the best that Nature can offer. It is the real beginning of a friendship that would last for centuries.