The Art of the “caleghéri” has resisted the dominance of mass production in a few workshops in the city.
The “gondolier’s shoe” has a sole with a soft but durable wedge in rubber, and an insole with arch support in leather designed to prevent backache in people who spend long periods walking. It requires ten hours to complete a pair of shoes, handmade and made-to-measure, including the cutting, mounting and fixing. The art is still learnt in workshops where the traditional tools of the trade, pincers, hammers and nails, reign supreme. The Guild of the “caleghéri”, associated with the “zavattéri” (slipper makers) dates from 1271. Many place names for bridges, small squares and alleys, feature the word “caleghér”.