The International Footwear Museum

Located inside the Sforzesco Castle in Vigevano, Lombardy, the International Pietro Bertolini Footwear Museum (MIC), was established in the 50s thanks to the initiative of the historic Luigi Barni of Vigevano, and was dedicated to Pietro Bartolini, the first benefactor of a prestigious collection of footwear from around the world. But why exactly at Vigevano? Because Vigevano and the world of shoes have been synonymous for more than one hundred years.

In fact, the city has even been the capital of Italy and at some point it was the capital of footwear. Its dominance over the world of footwear is quite ancient, and when it subsided, it gave the city a prominent industrial role in the 20th century as the shoemaking sector shifted and the city actual,y produced 20 million pairs of shoes a year. The first industrial shoe factory was established in 1866, and in 1929 Vigevano was the first Italian city to produce rubber sole shoes. The documentation of this long tradition can be found today precisely at this museum, the first and only public institution in Italy dedicated to the history and evolution of the shoe as an article of fashion and design.

The exhibition is spread throughout four rooms and one gallery that hosts a collection of about 400 shoes and a heritage of over 3,000 pieces, some of which include donations and borrowed pieces from companies and stylists in the sector including Ferragamo, Pucci. Pfister, il vigevanese Pollini and even the scientific curator of the museum, Dior, Karl Lagerfield, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and many more.


The museum is arranged into sections: it starts with The Duchess Room, continues on with the Historical section followed by Ethnic and Wunderkammer, style and design, and Stiletto. The last hall, called La Galleria, is home to temporary exhibitions. Since its inception, the museum has had as its objective the desire to be an important symbol for products Made in Italy, a source of pride for the hard work of the people of Vigevano. Inside it houses many models produced in Vigevano for the first time, and which have served as a model on an international scale such as rubber soles,much as sneakers in the ’30s, or shoes stiletto heels in the ’50s. Particular attention is paid to the aesthetic aspect of the pieces on display from outdated footwear to more recent, extravagant and classic shoes that cannot help but attract attention, curiosity and admiration. The shoe, therefore, is not only seen as an ordinary everyday object, but also as a combination of technology, imagination, innovation, aesthetic taste, all the features that make the shoe a true work of art worthy of being displayed in a museum completely dedicated to it.  You won’t be prived of the opportunity to see examples of particularly strange footwear: very small or very large, shoes belonging to famous people, all the shoes of the popes, shoes with high heels in espadrilles, wedges seventies, classic and models with characteristics details like a futuristic sandal with sole of wood spools and a silver shoe that is just one centimeter long!

Get far with Italian style. Luxury at your feet, for who isn’t ever willing to give up class. Walk with us towards the discovery of the IT5 of the week.
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