Seal of the Calegheri's confraternity
The Calegheri's School was born in Venice, probably around the second half of the 13th century. This name comes from Latin for "Caligarii", that is to say people who made soldiers' shoes, "caligae". Members of this noble Art used to manufacture very refined shoes for Venetian patricians, bringing great prestige to the Republic of San Marco with their work.
Campo San Tomà and the Calegheri School
Initially, the headquarters of the Calegheri School was located in Santa Maria della Carità Church in Venice. Later, during the 15th century, since the craft organization acquired higher economic power and importance, it moved its headquarters in Campo San Tomà.
In the Venetian Calegheri's Capitulary (dated 1268) the different types of shoes crafted are reported, such as wooden clogs, called "patitos", and footwear "stivallo". Interesting to know that Calegheri could not produce shoes using new uppers and old soles, and that they were forbidden to patch their own shoes or their family's ones: therefore, Calegheri could only produce new shoes.
The Brenta Riviera district
After Napoleon put an end to the glorious Venetian Republic (1797), the difficult situation and the lack of work forced Venetian shoemakers to move along the Brenta Riviera: this fact resulted to be fundamental for the growth of the craft in this area. Nowadays, several important shoe factories, including Rossimoda, are still located in the Brenta Riviera district.
The peculiarity of this 18th century item is the overshoe knotted on the front side of the upper. The overshoe was made in wood or leather and it was in vogue among noblewomen mainly during the first half of the 18th century. They were used to protect precious and delicate women’s footwear from the dirty streets.
Practical and resistant boots, such as the one in photo, were used in the 18th century by coachmen. These footwear can be considered as the first prototype of safety shoes: they were thought to protect legs from accidents and, at the same time, to make drivers maintain the correct position on the carriage. On the knee, there is a horsehairs stuffing as protection.