LE SCARPE – THE SHOES
For a country shaped like an elegant boot, it is only natural that footwear be a national obsession.
When first introduced to an Italian, expect a sneaky downward glance, a subtle check-out-of-the-shoes reflex.
Shoes have always played their place in Italian history as status indicators. In Roman times, red sandals signified the highest rank. Centuries later, the upper class wore elegant shoes to show that they didn’t engage in demeaning labour. Frivolous Venetian ladies of the sixteenth century swayed on stilt-like chopines ( very high platform shoes) in order to keep their silken hems above the muck of the streets – of course, servants’ assistance was essential for balance. And fairy tale heroine Cinderella found true happiness only after finding that perfect little glass slipper.
In the area of Southern Lazio, farmers wore “ciocie” (pron. Chohcheh) which consisted of white cloth wrapped around the foot and lower leg and encased in a sheet of leather and straps to hold it in place. It did the trick!.
A must-see when visiting Firenze is the Salvatore Ferragamo museum. A master of colour, materials and shapes never before imagined delighted the feet of Greta, Sophia, Audrey, Rita, Lauren, Ava and many more. All his famous designs are on show as well as he original sketches, prototypes, and custom wooden forms.
If, of course, it is chocolate shoes you are after, as shown in the featured image, then head to La Rinascente, opposite the Duomo di Milano and from its fantastic location on the 6th floor, you can almost reach out and touch the gargoyles sitting on the spires of the Duomo, while munching on a chocolate shoe.