Scarpet: History Of A Shoe

A shorthistory of the traditional Italian shoe that made it to modern times through timeless aesthetics and sophisticated craftsmanship

  • Scarpet: History Of A Shoe
  • Scarpet: History Of A Shoe
  • Scarpet: History Of A Shoe

Take a few canvas scraps, enough to create a layer a few centimeters thick. Compress them well and secure them to each other with the most resistant string you have. Shape it following the outline of a foot and sew it to a piece of embroidered canvas or velvet, chosen among the best ones you have at home: this is what the women of Friuli, in north-eastern Italy, have been doing for centuries to create an ancient type of footwear called scarpeta tradition jealously preserved and handed downfor generations.
Although the first written records of this tradition date back to the nineteenth century, it certainly has its roots in the previous centuries, when it started in the Friuli region only to reach the Belluno Dolomites and the Treviso pre-Alps. Venetian gondoliers, who needed practical and flexible footwear to protect them from the summer heat and the winter cold, were also great fans of the scarpets. Each family had its own scarpet tradition with special symbols for the embroidery on the toe.
In a time when reuse was a daily necessity and waste an inconceivable luxuryfor most people, scarpets were the shoes worn by the whole family on special occasion, made in different variations of fabric for the upper part, from canvas to velvet, to suit the season, padded and embellished with jute from grain sacks – somebody even went as far as adding a rubber sole made from recycled bicycle tires.
Among the market stalls of Udine and in the mountain artisan workshops, scarpets are still sold both as pieces of local craftsmanship and daily commodities. Whether they maintain their vocation as poor footwear or are embellished with embroideries and sophisticated fabrics, scarpets tell the authentic story of the people who invented them.

Author : The Slowear Journal


craftsmanship  | shoes  | Friuli  | scarpets  | upcycling  |

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