I always welcome the opportunity to observe a part of Italian life which is not typically experienced by the average traveler. I was fortunate to be able to receive a personalized tour of an authentic Italian shoe factory or fabricca. So my blogger friend, Debra Kolkka, and I set out in search of the town of Serignano in Monte, not far from Lucca.
We were greeted warmly at the office of Italian Shoemakers by the friendly Louisa who spoke fluent English, thanks to her living in San Francisco for eight years. This company has been in existence since 1982, designing and manufacturing women’s shoes and sandals by hand. Peter Romanelli is the owner and apparently is very hands on.
After introducing us to her colleagues Louisa gave us a tour of the facility where the design and creation of prototypes and samples occur. Fifteen people work here and they work straight through the day with a short break for lunch, unlike most Italian businesses which close for three hours in the afternoon.
Afterwards she drove us to one of the factories that specializes in making the straps for the sandals.
I found the entire process fascinating. Some parts of it are automated but everything is basically done by hand.
Following this we drove to yet another factory where the finished product is assembled and packed for shipment. Nubia, one of the owners, showed us around here and explained that they work strictly for Italian Shoemakers.
A total of twelve people work here in this family-run fabricca. Apparently someone likes birds because as soon as we walked in an aviary with quite a few cockatiels was the first thing we saw.
Aside from that, this place looked like a factory and smelled of glue. More than anything else, the attention to detail here, made an impression on me. What a wonderful day we had with the Italian Shoemakers family in Tuscany.