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The Italian Connection

November 15, 2014

shoe7I was always fascinated by the profound relation between Footwear and Culture. Shoes are not only items that can be use for practical reasons. What’s really important for me is that a a pair of shoes has the ability to tell the story of a person at a particular moment of their lives. Sometimes the connection between shoes, shoemaker and the town that the shoes were made in reveal a deep-rooted Cultural legacy. One such example are special Stefano Bemer models made for New & Lingwood: Massacio, Verrochio, Duccio, Tintoretto, Carravagio, Mantegna, Bernini and finally Vasari.

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All eight names are an important part of the Florentine extraordinary artistic activity. If the first seven names are very well known all over the world as painters or sculptors, the last model is a tribute to a personality that was perhaps more successful as an architect than as a painter. His name Giorgio Vasari (30 July 1511 – 27 June 1574) is synonym with one of the most astounding architectural masterpieces of the Renaissance – Vasari Corridor. 

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Author of The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times, or Le Vite de’ più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori da Cimabue insino a’ tempi nostri, Vasari lay the foundation of art history writing. The book was published in 1550 in Florence and dedicated to the famous Cosimo I de’ Medici.

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According to W. Chandler Kirwin author of “Vasari’s Tondo of ‘Cosimo I with His Architects Engineers and Sculptors’ in the Palazzo Vecchio. Typology and Re-Identification of Portraits“, in 1554 Vasari “left the service of Pope Julius III and Rome for his own house in Arrezo, having accepted the invitation of Cosimo I de Medici to organize the program of the decoration of Cosimo’s Florentine town residence, the Pallazo Della Signoria, now called Pallazo Vechio.” Eleven years later after in 1565 Cosimo’s chief architect was commissioned to build the famous Corridor on the occasion of the marriage of Cosimo’s son Francesco I with Giovanna d’ Austria. As I am no expert in Art history  I’ll let the Ufizzi Museum experts speak.

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The Vasari Corridor is a long, raised passageway that connects Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria to Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the river Arno. It passes through and along some of Florence’s most important landmarks, the Ponte Vecchio and the Boboli Gardens. The passageway was designed and built in 1564 by Giorgio Vasari to allow Cosimo de Medici and other Florentine elite to walk safely through the city, from the seat of power in Palazzo Vecchio to their private residence, Palazzo Pitti.The passageway was designed and built in 1564 by Giorgio Vasari to allow Cosimo de Medici and other Florentine elite to walk safely through the city, from the seat of power in Palazzo Vecchio to their private residence, Palazzo Pitti.In September 2013, the last part of the corridor was renovated and many self-portraits of more contemporary artists are now on display. ” (source: www.uffizi.org)

So next time when you will be in Florence book a tour of Vasari Corridor and also visit Stefano Bemer shop located on Via San Niccolo 2, Mario Bemer (Stefano’s brother) shop located on Via Maggio 68-70 and walking distance form Vasari Corridor Mannina shop (V. De’ Barbadori 19r). All these three shoemakers will give you a clear imagine of present superb Florentine craftsmanship.