Florence has a lot to offer fashion connoisseurs…Who wouldn’t be totally entranced by Via Tornabuoni and its gorgeous palazzi! So, I thought, “Today I’m going to visit Ferragamo and Gucci museums and compare the histories of these two extremely important brands that shaped the birth of fashion in Florence and beyond!
I was dazzled by Palazzo Spini Ferroni, owned by the Ferragamo family and where the Salvatore Ferragamo museum was established in 2006.
Through April 2014, a fabulous show is up at Museo Ferragamo called “Il Calzolaio Prodigioso” (The prodigious cobbler) that unites legend and reality.
That’s right, because Ferragamo decided to call attention to the importance of footwear in literature, underscoring their symbolic meaning of freedom, lightness, and cunning. Just think of Dorothy’s ruby red shoes in The Wizard of Oz, the boots of “Puss in Boots”, or “Cinderella”‘s shoes. Historically, it’s a fascinating palazzo with its vaults and low roof. The rooms are easy to visit with an audio guide that lets you delve into this magical world for an hour and a half tour. The first room is completely dedicated to the magic of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, true works of art, from the 1920s to the 1960s, made to measure for illustrious figures the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Sofia Loren, and Anna Magnani. Soft background music adds to the sense of Magic.
A short film, about 22 minutes long, is shown in the last room, thoroughly celebrating this great footwear artist. An event in Salvatore’s life is narrated, mingling fiction and reality. I won’t give it away here as that would ruin it!
Museo Gucci is in Piazza della Signoria in the 14th-century palazzo di Mercanzia. The museum opened in 2011 for the 90th anniversary of the brand’s birth in Florence.
It covers three floors.
The first floor shows the origins of Gucci’s masterpieces, its suitcases, an immediate hit with dynamic travelers from around the world. Its famous diamond of the 1930s was only joined by Guccio Gucci’s initials in the 1960s while the famed green/red/green bands already adorned his pieces. Walking through its rooms, we get to the upper floor on a stairway. The walls feature pictures of Sofia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, and other celebrities, as well as craftspeople at work. Gucci is more than suitcases, as they also make purses, accessories for men and women and for leisure time, plus their famous loafers. The room that definitely sparked the most dreams in me was “Evening”, showing gowns made for the most exclusive red carpet events, the perfection of fashion and creativity.
All the creations shown are one-of-a-kind pieces that straddle the worlds of dream and reality.
Before leaving, I took a break in the cafe/restaurant and took a seat in the reading room. The museum was chock full of people of all nationalities and guided tours can be reserved in many languages.
It’s definitely not to be missed. Perhaps after a shopping trip to the best boutiques, it could be a nice way to relax!