Underwhelming: The Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence

Wall of Shoes

A Small Section of Wall of Ferragamo Shoes

I have a tendency to wander around without a guidebook or map or clear plan and just be surprised by what I discover. And usually Florence is a wonderful town to approach this way -especially if one has a lot of time. I have found plenty of gems that I would have mostly likely not chosen to visit if I had used a guidebook (sometimes the descriptions are less than exciting for my interests or the guidebook does not mention the items that actually ended up interesting me the most). I usually check the guidebook after I have visited a place to learn more about the details or see what the book highlights.

View from the Palazzo

View towards the Arno from the Museum in the Palazzo Spini Feroni

So I was ready for another pleasant museum visit when I decided to pop into the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence on a recent walk. The museum was mentioned as one of four museums connected to fashion in a recent fashion and design lecture I attended. I was hoping for plenty of great shoes, explanations on design and/or shoe making, overview of the history of the brand with plenty of examples, and much more, but the museum was rather underwhelming. A good coffeetable book about the brand or a glance at the brand’s website provides more of all that than the museum.

Close-Up Shoes

Close-Up of Shoes in the Ferragamo Museum

A lot of space of the museum is currently (till April 3) dedicated to the history of the building itself, the  Palazzo Spini Feroni, which actually could be pretty interesting but does not contain much to look at and more to read about the building.The 13th-century palazzo was owned by a succession of several wealthy families, also was a luxury hotel, served  as seat for the Municipality, and was bought by Salvatore Ferragamo in the 20th century. The most memorable part is that the scientist Girolamo Segato had a lab in the palazzo in which he practiced to “petrify” human cadavers (it is not clear how exactly he did that). I actually had more fun browsing the museum’s website, which is very detailed and has photos of all the pieces that stood out to me.

Silk Scarf

Silk Ferragamo Scarf Showing the Palazzo Spini Feroni

I did enjoy the displayed photos showing Ferragamo at work, fashion shoots from the 50s, or Florence being rebuilt after WWII, but there were not enough of them.

Model

Photo from 1958

Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo and One of His Designs in 1956

Destruction of Bridges

Photo Showing the Rebuilding Florence after WWII – Of All the Bridges, Only the Ponte Vecchio Survived the Bombing

Maybe I have become spoilt by the many outstanding museums in Florence hat I have unrealistic expectations because surprisingly the museum has received 4 out of 5 stars on Tripadvisor. And I really like fashion museums and have enjoyed two of them in Florence (see a previous and another previous post). It seems that a lot of the pieces shown in this museum change based on the theme of the temporary exhibition and currently, the focus is not on the shoes but on the building. But I am still wondering whether I have maybe overlooked a whole section of the museum.

Shoe Forms

Shoe Forms in the Ferragamo Museum for Celebrities

Shoe Form

Shoe Forms for Making Shoes for Michael Jordan

If you are interested in visiting, the museum is on Piazza Santa Trinita 5/R, 50123 Florence and a full-price ticket was 6 Euro. The museum is open from 10 am to 7:30 pm everyday;
except 1 January, 1 May, 15 August and 25 December. For more details, see the excellent website.

Have you been to the museum and do you feel there is something I am overlooking?

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