Summertime is here again, and ItalianNotebook is offering Maestro Gaetano‘s stunning handmade sandals again through our online store, ItalianConnections!
These beautiful “Amalfi Coast made” sandals from the 2016 collection are already in the US and in stock, so you’ll get them in a matter of days this time. (Not weeks like last year.)
Inventory is limited however, so be sure to place your order now!
Sandals, flip-flops… those things you wear to the beach or when it’s too hot outside to wear closed shoes, right?
Trust an Italian artisan such as Signor Gaetano to prove how wrong I am. As I pick one up it immediately becomes obvious that there is a whole level to the universe called “Sandals” that I didn’t even know existed. Forgot my manners too, examining the level of detail without even a simple “Buongiorno.”
He graciously laughs it off, and goes right into telling me what I’m looking at, addressing my all too obvious ignorance in the matter. It would be a sales pitch by anyone else, but he isn’t boasting… just telling it like it is.
“Completely handmade by us here in Salerno, except for the decorative elements which are made by another Italian company, although I design them and weld the initial prototypes myself, taking inspiration from il territorio (lit. the territory, i.e. the surrounding natural environment/context/culture) of the costiera.” (Amalfi coast)
“The sole is the foundation, of course. We cut them, oversize and then grind them down, to ensure that the strongest sections are aligned where the sandal will see the most flexing.”
Then he describes making the strap… cutting the leather, flattening it, lining it with a softer leather piece exactly the same size, folding the edges, gluing the components, then stitching it all, hammering the stitches by hand, and then giving it its final profile.
Heels are next, built up layer after layer of hard leather. The entire sandal is then assembled, abraded, polished, dusted, variously stained, and finally the decorative accessory is attached.
Of course to make a pair, all of that gets done twice over, mirror image, for the other foot.
I come away with a whole new appreciation, laughing at myself for being surprised. I should have known better… trust an Italian and passione to turn sandals into an art form.
Later on, he really sums it all up…
“The personal gratification, and let’s admit it, pride, of an artisan in creating a product is wonderful. When you know that all the components come together like in a mosaic, you then become of aware of the fact that you have created something unique.”
“Saranno pure unici, ma Lei non fa sandali. Piuttosto gioielleria per i piedi,” I tell him. (transl. “They might be unique, except you don’t make sandals. More like jewelry for feet.”)
He smiles in agreement, happy that I have finally understood.
(Needless to say, we are extremely proud to offer a selection of Signor Gaetano’s 2016 sandals on our online store. (In stock in the US, Fedex 2-day shipping.) Grazie, Gaetano!