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During the Middle Ages, the first guilds of shoemakers were born, and the artisans had great technical skills. In Florence, the  shoemaking  was one of the Minor Arts, and in the sixteenth century it was incorporated with the Guild of Galigai and Correggiai (leather) by order of Cosimo I de’ Medici.

How does it work:

The shoemaker, as well as the tailor, takes  measurements of the entire product and the shapes that are then removed. A modulator examines and chooses the skins to be used, eliminates the defects and cuts them according to the shape of the piece that will form.

It proceeds to the “hemming stage”, in which the edges of the pieces of leather are sewn together, the buttresses of the shoe are assembled, and finally is completed with the addition of linings, eyelets and other elements that vary according to the type of shoe.

The sole is obtained from a leather cutout, previously wet and left to dry slowly, and is glued to the rest of the shoe with rubber glue. The last stage, called finishing, consists in polishing and finishing the ultimate product.


The art of shoemaking, especially the Italian kind, has been made famous thanks to figures like Salvatore Ferragamo, designer and founder of the homonymous fashion house based in Palazzo Spini Feroni, Florence.

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