Thursday, March 17, 2016


Quality shoes for the uncommon man and woman

executive summary by darmansjah

IN THE 1930s AND ‘40s, Bologna was the capital of finely crafted men’s shoes, led by such distinctive manufacturers as Testoni and Lemanni. Few of the 1,850 workshops from that time remain; after 1970, industrialization replaced shoe workshops with factories.

But not at Peron & Peron, a workshop that painstakingly crafts handmade shoes to order – about a thousand a year, 80 percent for male customers. Simone Peron, currently at the company’s helm, took over from his father, Bruno.

“The passion for this work is in our DNA,” Peron says. “We go visit a client’s home and try to establish a sense of him, observing his clothing, his furnishings. We have to be both good artisans and good psychologists.”

Tall wooden cases that display footwear in all shades of brown and black (with an occasional blue outlier) greet visitors to the small shop. The shoes are studies in types of leather and hand-stiching techniques. Many of Peron’s materials come from France, England, and Germany, but the technique and style are wholly Italian. Molds of each client’s feet are taken and later archived so that new paris may be ordered from anywhere in the world.

Shoes crafted by Peron & Peron are of such quality that they earned the recent admiration of other master shoe crafters: the Japanese.

“My greatest satisfaction,” Peron says, “is having brought my father’s name to such a distant land.”

Peron & Peron, Piazza S. Francesco 14/a. Open 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. (closed Thursday afternoon). Hand made shoes for men start at $1,000; for women, $800.

Fgr. Fancy footwork: Handmade shoes (right) are the specialty at Peron & Peron, one of many artisanal enterprises in Bologna. Stained-glass techniques from the Middle Ages inform the work of Bologna’s Studio Fenice (opposite).

Stained Glass-Studio Fenice-Antique stained glass is reproduced and restored using centuries-old artisanal techniques. Via Sant’Isaia 30/c

Wrought Iron-Bottega Prata-Tables, Chandeliers, and other wrought iron furnishings take artful shape in this family workshop. Via Caldarese 1/d

Ceramics-Crete-Piece Unique-Fanciful ceramics and jewelry depicting corals, flowers, and more reenvision nature. Via de’ Giudei 3/b

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