International Shoe Museum in Vigevano automatic translate
The city of Vigevano is not without reason called «the Italian capital of footwear». At the end of the sixties of the 20th century, about 21 million pairs of all kinds of footwear were produced here, half of which were exported to foreign countries. Due to the professionalism of the manufacturers and the entrepreneurial skill of the owners of the shoe factories, Vigevano won a solid business reputation and leadership position in the footwear market, still retaining his glorious title.
The first mention of the production of footwear in the city is mentioned in the Decree on the prohibition of tanning and leather processing in public places from 1392. But the flourishing of the shoe business in Vigevano is connected with the names of Luigi and Pietro Bocca, who owned the first modern footwear factory, using female labor, which the brothers founded in 1866. And in 1901 Antonio Ferrari established the first plant in Italy to produce equipment for shoe factories. 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 that became the birthplace of sneakers, then called «tennis shoes». Among other assortments, the city was famous for its beautiful wedding shoes .
A real monument to the achievements and traditions of the Vigevano is the International Shoe Museum, founded by Barney and Pietro Bertolini. This is the only state institution in Italy dedicated to the history of footwear as a piece of clothing and fashion. In 2003, his exposition was moved to the upper floors of the former ducal stables, to a new modern building, where you can now contemplate a lot of unique exhibits, authentic samples of shoes of various styles made in Vigevano at different times.
A notable place among them is, for example, a renaissance of the Renaissance, which came here during excavations conducted near Castello Castle. His mistress presumably could be Beatrice d’Este, wife of Lodovico Moro, also known as the Duke of Milan from the Sforza dynasty. It was thanks to his efforts that Vigevano became a favorite ducal residence.
Of great interest is the Venetian satin slipper model «decollete», dating from the 18th century. Responding to the spirit of this fun carnival-masquerade era, this elegant work of art is intricately decorated with silver embroidery and pleated ribbon. Later eras can boast of women’s sandals made of non-traditional, easily accessible materials - wood and raffia in 1942. The sandal style is thought out to the last detail and in everything meets the strict canons of «autarkic fashion».
Another remarkable sample of women’s shoes, stored in the Museum, a futuristic sandal, strikes the imagination with its bizarre design - it consists entirely of wooden cylinders.
The Museum also has several very interesting theme rooms. One of them, for example, is dedicated to famous shoe designers. Masterpieces of such masters as Pfister, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Manolo Blahnik are presented here, and the great Venetian Rene Caovilla is given a solo exhibition in the section «Artists». A truly indelible impression is left by the «Hall of Wonders», which contains a fantastic shoe-hat by Elsa Schiaparelli, which Salvator Dali came up with for his wife Gala. It will be interesting to look in the section «Shoes of the people of art», dedicated at the moment to Gabriele d’Annunzio.
Museo Internazionale della Calzatura «Pietro Bertolini»
Castello Sforzesco, I Scuderia
Palazzo Ducale, Vigevano.
(The museum is closed on Mondays)