They’re all over Italy and countless once you start looking, these craft factories and workshops turning out superb goods, some for the designer labels and others holding out under their own flag. L’Artigiana Viareggina is one of the latter. In the hinterland of Tuscany’s Versilia riviera, tucked in behind the resort of Viareggio to be precise, this small company with a workforce of no more than 40 has been making blue-ribbon shoes for the last 75 years. They started out making them entirely by hand. They still make them entirely by hand. Perhaps that’s why they export to destinations all over the globe and barely know what it means to advertise.
A little nipping and tucking on the image front recently made for sexier collections by L’Artigiana Viareggina. See this season’s suede brogues in lovely muted shade combos, classic desert boots in not-so-classic colours, and smart merino wool-lined boots for warm extremities in the extremes of winter. Next Spring/Summer sees ballet pumps supple as gloves in gorgeous pastel patterns and some amazing cork wedges, with bold suede mocassins in the men’s range. Above all, they all have the kind of elegance and wearability you only get from quality materials, fine craftsmanship, hand sewing. You’ll find all or part of the collections on sale in a couple of dedicated stores and other stockists around Italy and beyond.