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Sant’Elpidio a Mare, “Vincenzo Andolfi” Footwear Museum



Sant’Elpidio a Mare boasts an ancient shoemaking tradition which has been perpetuated over time thanks to the innumerable craft workshops scattered around the areas between the rivers Chienti and Tenna. In perfect accordance with this long tradition the “Vincenzo Andolfi” Footwear Museum was established and is currently housed in Palazzo Montalto-Nannerini. The museum holds an enormous number of items, with more than a thousand shoes, lasts and manufacturing tools. These were donated not just by the various footwear companies, but also by private individuals who wanted to contribute to the project, the primary purpose of which is to make full use of a heritage which is an integral part of the cultural anthropology of the town. The exhibition route takes us through three different sections which have as their subjects “Footwear of all times and places”, “The footwear industry of the Marche” and finally “Famous people's footwear”. In the first part we can admire a display of footwear which shows the great differences associated with the historical period in which they were made as well as the disparity resulting from the diverse needs that depend on social status, the ephemeral rules imposed by custom and naturally from the place of origin of the shoe. The vast collection, which includes boots, sandals, shoes, clogs and slippers from China, Canada, India, Latin America, Europe and Africa, was mostly a generous gift of Cav. Vincenzo Andolfi. The second section displays the main tools and machinery used in the various historical periods to make footwear which was always marked by excellent refinement of the craft, laudable care in finishing, constant attention to fashion and exclusive models. To stress the continuation of this activity which is ancient but always up-to-date, this section also contains footwear created according to the careful stylistic studies of the students of the Regional School for Shoemakers. The third and last sector, as suggested in its title, exhibits footwear of people who have played the most varied roles and who, owing to their aptitude for sport, their great faith in God, their creative streak or their artistic genius have added a piece to the great jigsaw puzzle of world history. The section houses the shoes of Gino Bartali, Valentino Rossi, Eddie Irvine, Valentina Vezzali, Giovanna Trillini, Ronaldo, Alessandro Del Piero, Roberto Baggio and also Popes John Paul II and John XXIII, as well as those of singers and entertainers such as Milva, Angelo Branduardi, Bobby Solo and Beniamino Gigli.

  1. The Fermo area is known for its long footwear tradition which over the years has enabled not only important social and economic growth, but also the development of a technological base capable of perpetuating the tradition through new manufacturing systems. The footwear district of the Marche and in particular the area between Fermo and Macerata is among the most productive in the entire country, because high quality and exclusive models have constantly been a mark of international recognition. As the National Observatory of Italian Districts has confirmed, in the Fermo manufacturing area there are three main centres, each specialized in different articles. The area surrounding the town of Montegranaro manufactures men's footwear, the area near Monte Urano is mostly devoted to footwear for children and teenagers, while the strip that includes Civitanova Marche and Porto Sant’Elpidio is specialized in the production of ladies' shoes. In the Fermo footwear district there are also firms producing only shoe components and high quality leather.