Actually my first thought was that Italian leather was made from Italian cows. I figured with all that great wine, cheese and Mediterranean sun, the cows had to be great cows. And as a result great leather hides. But unfortunately that is not the case. There are a great number of tanneries in Italy. But the hides are shipped to Italy from all over the world. The hides are preserved in a salt and biocide solution to preserve them in storage and shipping until the tanning process is commenced.
The best and largest hides come from the colder regions of North America and Europe. The food and housing is better in these areas. The smaller hides come from Africa and the far East where food is less plentiful and the housing conditions are much harsher. Interesting that it sounds very much like people too.