The museum of the “impossible” shoes

In Stra, Villa Foscarini Rossi tells over a century of history of fashion

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets

The museum, born from an idea of the entrepreneur Luigino Rossi, owner of Rossimoda, now part of the LVMH group, shows the most significant productions of the shoe factory from 1947 to today, including absolute cult models such as the "choc heel" by Dior and the Golden Viper by YSL.

The genesis of this craftsmanship, capable of realizing truly “impossible” architectures, can be traced back to the years of the peaceful dominion of the Serenissima Republic of Venice during which, along the Brenta river, from the 1400s onwards many noble Venetian families settled down with their majestic villas and rural activities, thus importing the flourishing arts linked to the entertainment and fashion industry.

Here, the economic boom led to the birth, after the Second World War, of numerous manufactures, including the famous Rossimoda, created in 1947 by Narciso Rossi, which was followed, in 1993, by the opening by his son Luigino of the Shoe Museum inside the beautiful Villa Foscarini Rossi in Stra.

The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets
The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets

Happiness is the secret of beauty. There is no beauty without happiness.

(Christian Dior)

The first room of the museum pays homage to the history of footwear and, among the various models, an elaborate 16th-century Venetian model stands out with a very high bridge sole and mother-of-pearl inlays. Designed as an overshoe so that ladies did not risk getting dirty, it testifies to the great artisan genius that the sector already boasted at the time.

The very high technical level reached by Rossimoda – just think that a high-end shoe requires between 100 and 150 processing steps – leads the company over the years to collaborate in the creation of some of the most famous and most difficult to “engineer” shoes the world.

The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets

Like Dior‘s Virgule. Indeed, it was in 1963 that Roger Vivier, remembered as the greatest shoe designer of all time, invented an original curvy heel (like a comma, virgule in English) for Dior, thus giving birth to a new way of being sexy.

The section dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent recounts his work through the 70s – 80s – 90s and some of his most daring models. Like the Golden Viper pumps that usher in the years of glitter and metallic colors and which, in a stroke of genius, the French designer had wanted to paint gold because the reptile didn’t seem sexy enough to him, or the very high black boots made with skin of 2 alligators.

The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets
The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets

In the 90s, the style of Karl Lagerfeld reigned who designed the famous shoe with a suspended heel for Fendi, a real “impossible” challenge for the Rossimoda craftsmen who managed to create a high heel that rested, incredibly, on the void.

Or, sometimes, it was the colors to be impossible to create, such as those of Emilio Pucci‘s shoes, created on inspiration from the designer’s trips to Capri, which had to faithfully reproduce the lemon yellow or the blue of the Riviera sky.

The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets

While, witnesses of the 2000s, we find Donna Karan’s sandals with golden laces on display, real weapons of seduction worn by Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct 2, made comfortable, to ensure a naturally sexy walk for the actress, thanks to the invisible wedge technique and upper in elasticated suede straps.

And there are so many other stories to tell.

The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets
The museum of the “impossible” shoes — Veneto Secrets

Today, Villa Foscarini Rossi is led by Luigino’s daughter, Cristina, while the museum curator is the shoe historian Federica Rossi. It is she who, during a guided tour (a must-do to enjoy the tale of the stories and secrets hidden behind each model), a modern blue fairy, will be able to transform every shoe into a dream and, this is a secret, at the end of the itinerary, we will also provide you with a list of company outlets on the Brenta Riviera.

And before the shopping session, you can stop for lunch at the Osteria del Baccalà, just 50 meters from the museum, where the cook Linda will delight you with the warmth of old-time taverns and traditional recipes.

Useful Info

Museo della Calzatura
c/o Villa Foscarini Rossi
Via Doge Pisani 1
30039 Stra, Venezia
Tel. +39 049 9801091

Entrance: 7 euro
Reduced ticket: 5 euro
Admission with guided tour: 7 + 50 euro (by reservation only, up to 20 pax).

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