The Veneto's Shoe Capital - Why Montebelluna? 20th January 2016

The Veneto's Shoe Capital - Why Montebelluna?

Sitting 42 miles northwest of Venice on the boundary between the Venetian Plain and the Alpine foothills, the small and prosperous town of Montebelluna can easily claim to be the shoe capital of Italy's Veneto region.

Within the town and 28 surrounding villages can be found the headquarters and factories of two of our key suppliers, Geox and GRIsport, as well as Alpina, Asolo, Crispi, Dalbello, Fila, La Sportiva, Lowa, Mammut, Northwave, Scott, Tecnica, Trezeta, Zamberlan and more.

Unsurprisingly, the town features a vast number of shoe shops, as well as the lively-hued buildings, trattorias and piazzas typical of any smallish Italian town.

The area's shoemaking roots are deep and ancient. Shoemakers from the Venetian Republic formed a guild in 1278, later splitting into those who made finer shoes who settled on the banks of the River Brenta, and those making lower-grade items for labourers (such as clogs), moving northwards from Venice into the Apline foothills. This is because the foothill region was frequented by numerous labourers harvesting and processing timber to satisfy the ever-hungry appetite of the Venetian Arsenale for wood to construct the Republic's fleets, which scoured the seas from Eqypt to Crimea to the Baltic.

As a shoemaking industry grew in the area due to the demand of these timber-harvesting labourers, more and more shoe artisans flocked to the area, encouraged by the work they were likely to find, and so the shoe industry grew even further.

In more recent times, globalisation has had an impact on Montebelluna, and some manufacturing operations have moved away from the area to Eastern Europe or East Asia, but the heart and soul of many a shoe manufacturer remains in this charming Venetian town nestled in the Alpine foothills.

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