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  • Writer's pictureMary Gray

A Brief History of Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence

What is Museo Salvatore Ferragamo?

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is a museum dedicated to the history of the Ferragamo brand, the life of its founder and his iconic creations.

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

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Museo Salvatore Ferragamo History

Though Florence has been known for its production of elaborate textiles and fabrics from the Renaissance onwards, it wasn’t until the 1940s that it really began to earn international fame as a centre for fashion. This was thanks, in large part, to brands such as Gucci, Pucci, and Salvatore Ferragamo.

The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum is admittedly more of a brand temple than a deep dive into Florentine fashion history – but it gives casual viewers far more context than the social media-driven spectacle seen at, say, the Gucci Garden. Founded in 1995, the Ferragamo Museum’s exhibitions are also modestly priced and curated with enough care to reel in even fashion outsiders.

The Palazzo Spini Feroni itself is an alluring spectacle. Wedged between Via de’ Tornabuoni and the Lungarno, the 13th-century museum building looks right at home among the area’s high-end boutiques, luxury housing, smart restaurants, and jewellers. The palace alone attracts curious onlookers with its fortress-like aesthetic and medieval embellishments.

The exhibition area doesn’t provide a comprehensive history of the brand, but instead hosts temporary but long-running exhibitions exploring one aspect of Ferragamo – typically, shows stay on for about a year. Still, some of the brand’s more iconic products are regularly spotlighted in their own little alcoves, including the Rainbow Sandals custom-made for Judy Garland the year before she sang ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. There’s also a room at the conclusion of the exhibition space that gives a decade-by-decade introduction to some of the label’s definitive products and turning points (like when they transitioned from producing only fine shoes and bags to a full ready-to-wear brand).

While founder and shoemaker to the stars Salvatore Ferragamo died in 1960, his family is still highly present in the world of Florentine fashion, fine dining and hospitality, owning and operating, among other businesses, the Lungarno Collection of luxury hotels.

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