The women and not only them of Venice have always paid particular attention to shoes. Today Venice’s artisan shoemakers strike a balance between style and comfort, handcrafting a wide range of boots and shoes using traditional techniques revisited with creative flair. There are three currently plying their trade from workshops within a few minutes of Rialto Bridge. And all of them are women.
When Daniela Ghezzo San Marco 4365, calle dei Fuseri, was studying painting at the Fine Arts Academy in Venice, she found herself constantly drawing footwear, and instinctively knew that this was her real calling. When she was 18, Ms. Ghezzo began spending her days in the Segalin atelier By the time Signor Segalin retired, Ms. Ghezzo, then 24, felt confident enough to take over. With an assistant who does the stitching, she now produces around 10 pairs of shoes a month, at prices ranging from 700€, or about $960, for women and 800€ for men. Her customers wait around six weeks for delivery.
Giovanna Zanella, Campo San Lio, 5641 30122 Venice on the other hand, has an eye-catching range of footwear on display at her colorful workshop in the Castello district. While Ms. Ghezzo favors the classic look, Ms. Zanella goes for flamboyance and delights in the outré touch. The daughter of a master glass-blower, she first opened her store 15 years ago, making hats, bags and other accessories, but shoes have been her sole focus for the past 10 years.
The third shoemaker also learned from Mr. Segalin during two extended visits to Venice before she set up her own atelier in the San Polo district in 2003. Her background, however, is otherwise entirely different. Gabriele Gmeiner campiello del sol san polo 951 30125 Venice was born in Austria and took a diploma in footwear technology and design in London, which she followed with workshops in Vienna and Paris. Later came experience with John Lobb in London and Hermès in Paris.