The Ferragamo Museum in Florence
Florence is one of the capitals of Italian and international fashion. Every year the city hosts some of the most important events in the sector, such as the Pitti Uomo review that is held every year at the Fortezza da Basso, but the one between Florence and fashion is a link that comes from the creativity and mastery of some great names that have made history. One of these names is that of Salvatore Ferragamo to whom a museum is now dedicated in the heart of the historic center of Florence.
Who was Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the most important names in international fashion, a prestigious name inextricably associated with the high quality of Made in Italy. Born in 1898 in the province of Avellino, Salvatore started working as a shoemaker when he was just eleven years old. In 1915 he emigrated to California, where he opened his own business and in a short time he acquired considerable fame. The success of his “Hollywood Boot Shop” was such that it was unable to meet all orders. Salvatore, however, was very ambitious and for this reason he decided not to settle for what he did in the States, so, at 29, he decided to return to Italy and settle in Florence. It is in the city of the lily that Salvatore Ferragamo’s talent blossomed definitively: here he was able to make his shoes as he wished and for many years he achieved great results. After his death in 1960, his wife and children took over the company, always keeping the name of the maison high.
Birth and history of the museum
The Ferragamo Museum in Florence is a real treat for fashion enthusiasts. It is located inside Palazzo Spini Feroni, the historical headquarters of the company. The palace itself is also worth a visit as it is one of the most beautiful medieval buildings in the historic center of Florence. Built starting in 1289 by the very wealthy merchant and politician Geri Spini, this palace was the only one that at the time could rival Palazzo Vecchio. Over the centuries, various families followed one another in the ownership of the building until, in 1846, it was purchased by the Municipality which, for 10 years, made it the seat of the Municipal Council. In 1938, Palazzo Spini Feroni became the headquarters of Ferragamo.
It was Fiamma, Salvatore’s first daughter, who had the idea of organizing a fixed museum exhibition in 1995. Ten years earlier, in 1985, a first exhibition dedicated to the history of Salvatore Ferragamo had been organized at Palazzo Strozzi. This exhibition then became itinerant, moving between some of the most important museums in the world such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Sogetsu Kai Foundation in Tokyo, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
In 1999 Salvatore Ferragamo received the Guggenheim Enterprise and Culture Award as the best company engaged in the cultural field. In the museum it is possible to visit a large collection of footwear, reflecting Salvatore Ferragamo’s long Italian activity and his continuous creative research.
Visit to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum
The objects are exhibited in rotation every two years, respecting thematic criteria. The models, cataloged by years of production, materials and colors, demonstrate the commitment to the use of innovative materials and improving construction techniques. You can admire the famous cork “wedge”, patented in 1936 and immediately imitated all over the world, the uppers in raffia or cellophane and the paper for sweets, used during the Second World War.
Visiting the Ferragamo Museum we can also understands Salvatore’s close relationships with the artists of the time with whom he collaborated for the creation of his works. There are also exhibited shoes created for the biggest Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Audrey Hepburn. The collection is in constant progress as well as this great fashion house. The museum collection is also enriched by the shoes produced after the death of the founder Salvatore Ferragamo. Each year, the most representative models of the season become part of the Salvatore Ferragamo archive, from which the museum draws for its exhibitions.
The Ferragamo Museum also has a large and interesting collection of drawings, wooden shapes, documents and photographs relating to the creations of the master shoemaker.
Exhibitions of the Ferragamo Museum
Each year, the Ferragamo Museum hosts one or more temporary exhibitions dedicated to a well-defined research theme. The aim of these exhibitions is to promote the study of contemporary fashion and culture. The starting point, however, always remains the experience and history of the founder Salvatore Ferragamo and it could not be otherwise considering the great imprint he left in the history of Made in Italy fashion.
At the time of writing this article, the most recent exhibitions at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum have been SETA (2021-2022), Sustainable Thinking (2019-2021) and Italy in Hollywood (2018-2019).
Information on timetables and tickets
The Ferragamo Museum is almost always open.
The opening hours, from Monday to Sunday, are from 10.30 to 19.30.
The only days the museum is closed are January 1st, August 15th and December 25th.
The full ticket costs 8 euros. There are reductions for various categories and holders of cards and season tickets who can take advantage of tickets of 5 or 4 euros. The under 18, the over 65, the handicapped and the teachers enter for free.
For more information, I recommend that you visit the museum’s official website.