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33 Years Of Amazing Shoes In The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum

Margaret Cowan

When I arrive in Florence, one of the first pleasures I indulge in is browsing the shoe store windows and occasionally buying a pair. In all these 34 years of visiting Florence and three years living there ages ago, somehow I didn't get to the Ferragamo Museum until 2008. The Ferragamo's 700 year old Palazzo Spini Feroni on Via Tornabuoni at the Arno River, houses their retail store and the shoe museum downstairs (the entrance is at Piazza Santa Trinita 5r).

View of San Miniato from Forte Belvedere in Florence

Salvatore Ferragamo Store in Rome

The museum shows you a dazzling array of shoes Ferragamo made from 1927 to 1960, the year he died. He was the "shoemaker of the stars" with clients like Audrey Hepburn and the Duchess of Windsor.

This incredibly creative man made everything from wedge heels with five layers of light green, gold, orange, magenta and burnt orange suede with gold leather straps, to classic high heeled sandals of gold leather braids, to sandals with silver and gold straps and a high red platform sole embroidered with jewels in Baroque designs. Other shoes look like they came out of medieval courts or The 1001 Nights.

The astounding range of colors, color combinations, fabrics, textures and flamboyant designs totally delighted my playful, creative, childlike side. I felt like a kid in a toy store, except I couldn't touch the shoes. A place I'll enjoy every time I'm in Florence from now on!

To see slide shows of lots of shoes from the Ferragamo web site, click here.

Ferragamo AutobiographyI strongly recommend reading Salvatore Ferragamo's excellent, inspiring autobiography, The Shoemaker of Dreams. He tells you how from his small town in southern Italy, through war and financial hardships in Florence, he persisted with his passion for making shoes and helping people have strong, healthy feet, and created the international business he dreamed of. It will make your visit to the museum much more meaningful.

How to Visit

Opening hours: 10.00 am to 6.00 pm everyday except Tuesday, when the Museum is closed all day.

Entrance: Piazza Santa Trinita 5r, Florence

phone +39 055 3360 456/455

fax +39 055 3360 475

Ticket: €5


Margaret Cowan first went to Florence in 1972, lived there in the late 70s and now spends time there every year. She owns an Italian cooking tour company, Mama Margaret & Friends that offers cooking school vacations throughout Italy.

© Margaret Cowan 2009

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