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Worn by the Gods – The Art of Footwear on Show at Palazzo Pitti until April 19, 2020

What do cinema, fashion and the ancient Rome have in common? Shoes, as proven by a refined and incredibly original exhibition called Worn by the Gods. Footwear in the Ancient World and 20th Century Revisitation, curated by Lorenza Camin, Caterina Chiarelli and Fabrizio Paolucci, hosted inside the rooms of the Museum of Costume and Fashion at Palazzo Pitti, and open until 19th April 2020.The 80 works on show – some of which coming from important international museums such as the Louvre in Paris – explore the hidden meanings and the endless roles played by these items of clothing within the Western World from ancient to modern times. With their shape, accessories and colours, shoes would explain many things about the people who wore them – their gender, as well as their financial and social status. For example, courtesans in the ancient Rome would wear sandals with little nails hammered on the lower side of the sole, specially arranged to leave an imprint on the ground saying: “Follow me”.

Ancient times are compared with contemporary ones in an amazingly dialectic and charming exhibition itinerary, which also relies on multivision effects thanks to a dedicated room, to relive the excitement of some scenes taken from legendary movies.

The exhibition features some examples of “caligae” worn by Roman soldiers, “malicious” sandals worn by Greek courtesans, refined sandals worn by the ancient Roman upper class, up to unique pieces, authentic works of art made in the greatest designers’ ateliers such as Genny, Céline, Richard Tyler, René Caovilla, Donna Karan, Emilio Pucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Yves Saint Laurent.

The exhibition also features some unmissable works by Pompei Shoes, the most famous Italian shoe factory for the movie industry, with iconic models such as the sandals worn by Liz Taylor in Cleopatra, by Charlton Heston in Ben Hur, by Russell Crowe in Gladiator and the “caligae” worn by Colin Farrell in Alexander.

(Fiamma Domestici)