‘Italy in Hollywood’

At the Ferragamo Museum in Florence, the magic of the Italian genius at Hollywood in the ‘20s

From 24 May 2018 to 10 March 2019


In Florence from May 24th 2018 to March 10th 2019 the Ferragamo Museum will host the exhibition 'Italy in Hollywood', dedicated to the years that the great shoe artist spent in California, a time when many other very talented Italians would influence art, craftsmanship and of course the world of cinema.

The exhibition is largely based on the autobiography of Salvatore Ferragamo who was born in Bonito, a village in the province of Avellino in 1898. Coming from a modest family, as a child he began working in the workshop of Luigi Testa, and it seems that his first creation were white shoes for his sister's communion. When Ferragamo was only 14 he decided to join his brother, who had emigrated to the United States, which is where he would begin his close relationship with the emerging film industry. In the early 20s he opened his first shop in Santa Barbara, where he created and repaired shoes, and later, in 1923, he moved to Hollywood, which was then little more than a village, and opened the Hollywood Boot Shop. This soon became a boutique rather than just a shoemaker's shop, and was frequented by movie stars such as Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson and Joan Crawford. It seems that even the delightful red shoes of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz were a creation of the man nicknamed 'the shoemaker of the stars', and also the ‘shoemaker of dreams’.


The exhibition at the Ferragamo Museum in Florence focuses on the period he spent in Hollywood: between 1915 and 1927. The Ferragamo exhibition in Florence, curated by Gianluca Muscio and Stefania Ricci, unfolds through memorabilia of various kinds such as photographs, film clips and various objects. These valuable memorabilia have been provided by Italian and American museums and private collections but also by important institutions linked to the world of cinema. Cinematography will play an important role in the exhibition, which thanks to the scenographic project of Maurizio Balo' you will feel like you’re on a set of Studios of the 20s. The exhibition ‘L’Italia a Hollywood at the Ferragamo Museum' (Florence, Italy) celebrates the birth of the Italian myth in America that branched into all fields where our compatriots made our country great: art, music, architecture, fashion and of course cinema.

Your journey through those fascinating years will begin with the manifesto of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. This event was born with the aim of celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was also an opportunity to showcase the city’s recovery after the earthquake of 1906. The Italian pavilion, designed by Marcello Piacentini, was the chance to consolidate Americans’ appreciation of Italian art and architecture. It then continues with references to characters who have become true icons, such as the tenor Enrico Caruso of whom you can admire some portraits of the era as well as the trunk that he used for his tours in America. At the Ferragamo Museum exhibition there are also some relics of Lina Cavalieri, an opera singer and actress who, with her dreamy beauty, represents a typical icon of those times. You can see her in 40 of the famous 300 portraits that Pietro Fornaretti made of her on ceramic plates. And how could Rodolfo Valentino be missing? Another undisputed icon of Italian style, one of those characters who started the phenomenon of divism. We are sure you will be enchanted by his autographed portrait or in front of the poster for one of his films. In Florence at the Ferragamo exhibition, as well as the opportunity to see many film clips thanks to appropriate technological supports and installations, you can admire many objects related to film productions of the likes of Ben Hur, Romola or Cabiria.


The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum exhibition also includes the project 'Two Young Italians in Hollywood' which involves two young Italian artists (Manfedi Gioacchini and Yuri Ancarani) working in Los Angeles and displaying a series of photos and videos representing the ideal continuity with the theme of the exhibition.


The exhibition can only end with a tribute to the protagonist. The last room is dedicated to Salvatore Ferragamo and explores his close relationship with the birth and growth of the Hollywood film industry. In his words from his autobiography: 'I seem to glimpse a parallel between the film industry and my business... when the film studios surpassed the initial phase and started to expand and grow, my store followed the same trajectory'. A trajectory that led directly to the heart of the star system that was naturally raptured by the beauty and exclusiveness of his creations.

To find out more about the fascinating story of the 'shoemaker of the stars' you can continue by visiting the rest of the Salvatore Ferragamo museum. It was created in 1995 by will of Wanda and his sons with the purpose of opening to the public Ferragamo’s incredible artistic qualities and the role he played not only in the history of footwear, but also in the international fashion industry. This area, which is located inside Palazzo Spini Ferroni, consists of seven rooms. One of these is entirely dedicated to the permanent collection: here you will find the works of 40 years of activity, the models of his daughter Fiamma and those of the most recent collections. Just to give you an idea, we are talking about 14,000 shoes, drawings, photographs, patents, shapes and colors. So if shoes are your passion, this exhibition is just the best thing for you!


Do not miss the Ferragamo exhibition 2018 in Florence: perfect to discover the story of one of the icons of Italian style. You can combine your walk in Via Tornabuoni, the street of the boutiques in Florence where Palazzo Spini Ferroni is located, at a truly captivating exhibition. One last suggestion, especially for those who have a weak spot for shoes: fill the rest of your day with other activities! Don’t let the shopping vortex capture you! Why not get distracted with one of our tours of Florence? The beauty of the ‘cradle of the Renaissance’ will certainly distract you from shopping for a while!


Location: Florence, Salvatore Ferragamo Museum - Spini Ferroni Palace - Piazza Santa Trinita 5R

Ferragamo Museum Hours: 10.00 am - 7.30 pm (closed January 1st, May 1st, August 15th, December 25th)


By Insidecom Editorial Staff


Period: From 24 May 2018 to 10 March 2019

Event location: Florence

Contacts: more info on the official website www.ferragamo.com/museo/en/usa/

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