International Shoe Museum in Vigevano Automatic translate
The city of Vigevano is not without reason called the "Italian capital of shoes." At the end of the sixties of the twentieth century, about 21 million pairs of all kinds of shoes were produced here, half of which were exported to foreign countries. Thanks to the professionalism of the manufacturers and the entrepreneurial dexterity of the owners of shoe factories, Vigevano has gained a solid business reputation and leadership in the shoe market, still retaining its glorious title.
For the first time about the production of shoes in the city is mentioned in the Decree on the prohibition of tanning and leather processing in public places from 1392. But the heyday of shoe making in Vigevano is associated with the names of Luigi and Pietro Bocca, who owned the first shoe factory of a modern design using women’s labor, which the brothers founded in 1866. And in 1901, Antonio Ferrari also established the first factory in Italy to produce equipment for shoe enterprises. The next step was the opening in 1929 of the first production of rubber shoes in the country. It is noteworthy that it was Vigevano who became the birthplace of sneakers, then called "tennis shoes." Among other assortment, the city was famous and beautiful wedding shoes .
A real monument to the achievements and traditions of Vigevano is the International Shoe Museum, founded by Barney and Pietro Bertolini. This is the only state institution in Italy devoted to the history of shoes as an item of clothing and fashion. In 2003, his exposition was moved to the upper floors of the former ducal stables, in a new modern building, where you can now contemplate many unique exhibits, genuine samples of shoes of various styles made in Vigevano at different times.
A prominent place among them is occupied, for example, by the Renaissance slipper, who came here during excavations conducted near Castello Castle. His mistress could be Beatrice d ’Este, the wife of Lodovic Moreau, also known as the Duke of Milan from the Sforza dynasty. Thanks to his efforts, Vigevano became a favorite ducal residence.
Of great interest is the Venetian satin shoe model "decollete", dating from the XVIII century. Responding to the spirit of this fun carnival-masquerade era, this exquisite work of art is intricately decorated with silver embroidery and pleated ribbon. Later eras can boast of women’s sandals made from unconventional but readily available materials - wood and raffia in 1942. The style of sandals is thought out to the last detail and in all respects meets the strict canons of "autarkic fashion."
Another noteworthy example of women’s shoes stored in the Museum, a futuristic sandal, is amazing with its bizarre design - it consists entirely of wooden cylinders.
The Museum also has some very interesting thematic rooms. One of them, for example, is dedicated to famous shoe designers. The masterpieces of such masters as Pfister, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Manolo Blahnik are presented here, and the great Venetian Rene Caovilla has a solo exhibition in the “Artists” section. A truly indelible impression is made by the “Hall of Miracles”, which contains a fantastic hat-shoe made by Elsa Schiaparelli, which Salvator Dali invented for his wife Gala. It will be interesting to look into the section “Shoes of the people of art”, which is currently dedicated to Gabriele d’Annunzio.
Museo Internazionale della Calzatura "Pietro Bertolini"
Castello Sforzesco, I Scuderia
Palazzo Ducale, Vigevano.
(Museum closed on Mondays)