Although they are known for timeless, handcrafted bags with custom hardware and playful shapes, third-generation Fontana Milano 1915 brothers Michele and Paolo Massa insist that their company is not an accessories business. “We don’t think of ourselves in that way,” Michele says. “We create beautiful, functional objects.” Founded in 1915 by their maternal grandfather, Guido Pieracci—a Renaissance man who enjoyed painting and writing—the Fontana brand has always been driven by creative passion. Even today, the tight-knit clan includes painters, jazz composers, and blues musicians. “We are a noisy family,” says Michele. “And we have a good sense of humor.”

A green version of the “A Bag” style.

Celebrating over 100 years as a family business, Fontana’s slow-and-steady approach has allowed each generation to evolve the brand while remaining true to the founding spirit. “It is so important that the concept of Fontana always be linked to the originality of our product,” says Michele. “But also, we try not to take ourselves too seriously.”

This long-lasting exuberance comes through in the designs: six timeless styles reinterpreted every season with new materials and technical advancements. “It’s our mission to keep researching ways to develop key concept styles that can last forever,” Michele says. At the heart of the collection is the A Bag, which resembles a classic city case—top handles, side exterior pouch, and belt-like strap closures. Over the years, it has been released with modern touches like studded embellishments and patchwork suedes, and in backpack and clutch versions. Additionally, the collection features the Wight, a hobo-style shoulder bag; the Busy Day Lady, a messenger-style bag equipped to house life’s tools; and the Tum Tum style, which is based on the historic Italian shopping bag. Each bag comes in a variety of sizes and colors.

A beautiful, multi-colored Tum Tum bag.

While the playful creativity of a Fontana Milano 1915 bag catches everyone’s eye, it’s the expert craftsmanship that their customers cherish. The family even welcomes clients to visit their Milan-based workshop to understand the hand-crafted intricacies going into each bag. “They are always shocked in a positive way, never expecting to see 300 people as real artisans,” says Michele. “They leave without a doubt of the craft that goes into each bag.”

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