Villa Torlonia showcases pieces from museum collections and brands operating in the San Mauro Pascoli shoe district.

On display at Villa Torlonia until 27th October, “Dagli eroi alle dive. Il sandalo” (From heroes to divas. The sandal) is the exhibition telling the story of a shoe that has existed from Roman times to the present day. The historic journey is experienced through archive materials from companies based in the San Mauro Pascoli shoe district (Baldinini, Casadei, Grey Mer, Pollini, Gianvito Rossi, Sergio Rossi, Giuseppe Zanotti), in addition to pieces from the Ancient Delta Museum in Comacchio, the Museo degli sguardi (Museum of Glances) in Rimini and even shoes by Renato Manzoni, an artisan working in Imola from the 1930s to the 1960s.

The history of the sandal is decidedly long. Starting life in the Roman period, the sandal was widely used, before it fell into disuse in Medieval times when the bare foot represented symbolic or sacred conditions. Then came the invention of chopines, originating in the Middle East, defined by their high platforms; used as an overshoe to protect the shoes underneath, they contributed to the beautification of feet. More recently, in the 1900s, the sandal re-emerged after centuries of oblivion, making feet visible once again, and transforming them into objects of vanity and even fetishes.
Highlights of the exhibition include Giuseppe Zanotti’s vinyl sandal for Rita Ora (2019), the same designer’s white satin sandal for Jennifer Lopez (2017) and Renato Manzoni’s “Rinascimento” sandal for Marlene Dietrich in the 1940s.

The exhibition is enriched with videos, as well as photos of old paintings and statues, creations by local brands and historic images of the district.

The exhibition is promoted by San Mauro Pascoli council, LZ, Cercal and Sammauroindustria, and curated by Maria Cristina Savani and Elisa Tosi Brandi.