Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Well-Heeled in Florence’s Ferragamo Museum

Florence has produced many of the greats in art, many of whom had humble beginnings in an apartment in Florence, or simply settled in Florence, to later become renowned worldwide. In modern history, Salvatore Ferragamo made his mark on the world of fashion, designing shoes in Hollywood in the 20’s for stars and the silver screen and later brought their manufacture to his preferred city of Florence. Ferragamo died in 1960, but his legacy lives on; his name being a modern-day global luxury brand. For shoe-lovers, a trip to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum is highly advised when in Florence.
Quite unlike the usual Florence museum, this conceptual shoe gallery, which was opened by the Ferragamo family in 1995 as a tribute to Salvatore’s ideas, showcases the designer’s work and collections. Each piece of footwear is viewed as an artwork, alongside documentary on Ferragamo’s life, photos of him with celebrities and an interesting insight into last century’s relationship with shoes.

The fascinating story behind Ferragamo’s work, pioneering the cork wedge during the scarcity of the world war years, his popularity with Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, the re-planting of his business in his native Italy, these are all detailed within the museum’s permanent collections.

What’s more, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum also organises temporary collections dealing with new contemporary artists, collaborating with arts and culture societies and hosting exhibitions. The entrance fee into the museum (€5) goes towards funding annual scholarships for up-and-coming footwear designers. The museum is definitely worth a visit for its inter-cultural aspect, if not for the shoes.

The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum is located on Piazza Santa Trinita 5r, in Florence’s Santa Maria Novella district. It’s opening hours are from 10am-6pm and it is closed only on Tuesdays. For information about reserving a visit, the contact phone number is +39 055 3360 456/455.

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