I hired Roots in the Boot to research my family roots in Scigliano (Calabria), and learned that I come from a long line of shoemakers!! Every Gualtieri ancestor of my great-grandmother, Josephine, was a shoemaker–back as far as Pasquale Gualtieri, born about 1725.
I would love to see a pair of their shoes, and I wonder what their shoemaking shop looked like. As I roam around Scigliano later this summer, I will be looking for shoe shops, and hope my Italian cousins there can tell me more about our shoe-making ancestors.
Several of the women in the family were cotton or silk spinners. I imagine this as “cottage” employment rather than work outside the home, but honestly, I don’t know. The villages that make up Scigliano are fairly small, but I don’t know much in detail about their history. Could there have been a weaving business there, turning their silk into luxurious velvets and brocades?
Could it be that at some point they combined their efforts, and made shoes like these?
Do you know the occupation of your Italian ancestors?
This was a delightful little article. While you are ‘perhapsing’, perhaps your cousin, Guiseppe Gualeieri could shed some light, afterall he is about 80 yrs old and was a professor at the local (?) college where he taught agronomy. Not that it has anything to do with shoes, but he is a knowledgeable man. Just a suggestion. Do you need his address?
I have always loved Italian shoes, with my European short fat feet, they were some of the only ones that fit! What fun to have this information on your ancestors, Sandy!
Thanks, Cara! I also have hard-to-fit feet, so will be looking more closely at the shoes in Italy. Not those crazy green high heels, though! Makes my feet hurt to look at heels that high.