How Shoes are Made by Hand in Italy


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.

All materials are made in Italy except the decorations which come from China.20141019-174857.jpg

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.20141019-182640.jpg

About Margie Miklas

An award-winning author, Margie Miklas writes medical thrillers and travel memoirs about Italy, a place which has captured her passion for travel. She is also the creator and owner of the travel blog, Margie in Italy, and a contributing writer for an Italian-American newspaper. A retired critical-care nurse, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her three cats. Her favorite place is the beach, and she likes learning new computer skills, when she is not writing. A member of the Florida Writers Association, Margie makes her home in Florida.
This entry was posted in Italian Fashion, Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, Made in Italy, Photography, TRAVEL, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to How Shoes are Made by Hand in Italy

  1. Debra Kolkka says:

    It is great to see that some things are still made by hand. We had a fun day.


  2. Ah detailed craftsmanship. What a cool thing to watch. How does one arrange such a tour and do they charge for it?


    • Thank you Suzette. I had done a blog post on Italian Shoemakers and then inquired about touring the factory. They were happy to accommodate myself and Debra because it would be publicity for them as we indicated that we would be blogging about our experiences. There was no charge.


  3. Florence says:

    Great story Margie.
    I do love the Italian Shoemaker shoes, and have owned many pairs over the years. The most comfortable shoe that I have ever found. Living in different parts of the US, they have been hard to find at times, but it certainly never stops me from searching no matter where I go!


  4. How interesting! Did you get that smell of Italian leather? Do they make boots as well as shoes? A nice side trip to your great TRIP! lol


  5. lizbert1 says:

    What a great day and a great post! Its always interesting to get behind the scenes isn’t it and I look forward to your next posts – where will you be exploring next?!


  6. K Smothers says:

    Great post! Love seeing and reading about this company. I have a pair of their sandals and love them. Will be looking for another pair next summer. Enjoy the remainder of your trip …


  7. Very interesting post, Margie!


  8. imarancher says:

    Oh for a new pair of Italian sandals from this place. They fit and feel like nothing else. In fact, they feel like you are wearing air and everyone notices them. Well worth the price because they look new for a very long time. Workmanship always pays off.


  9. What an experience this had to be! Nothing compares to a pair of Italian shoes 🙂


  10. Diana says:

    Wow Margie! What a fun day!


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