Sandal maker – Made in Italy!

Ok…these sandals were definitely “MADE IN ITALY!” Antonio Viva has been at it since 1958 at his shop, ‘L’Arte del Sandalo Caprese’ on via Giuseppe Orlandi al n 75 in the center of Anacapri on the island of Capri. His fame reached Hollywood making his designs a must have back in the “Dolce Vita” days for the likes of Jackie O and Sofia Loren.

The ancient art of sandal making goes back to the Greeks and, indeed, even the earlier Egyptians were no strangers to sandals. What proved to be the innovative edge was the invention of the hard sole with leather straps. Ever the pragmatists, the Romans designed sandals tough enough for military expeditions. This ‘modern’ twist apparently held sway with the likes of Emperor Tiberius. the first Emperor to don the hard-soled that came to be known as the ‘sandalium’ and later the sandal. Since he made Capri his summer home, the island has been attributed with the creation of the new footwear.

Over the course of the years, the artisans of Capri, with the aid of the islands natural beauty, created an unmistakable style that is now known world wide. Not much has changed regarding the hard sole; what is different are the shades of gold and silver leather, turquoise and fuscia gems, pearls and rhinestones and the low heels that are one of the many options that make each pair of sandals unique. And Antonio Viva, as his name suggest, is keeping the tradition alive. His small laboratory, completely open to the street is the quintessential shop experience. One is overcome with the variety of colors with a myriad of gems and colored straps that make you want to don your feet with one of his creations as soon as possible. In fact, his assistant will call out to clients saying, “don’t worry, just choose your model and your sandals will be ready on your way back form the stroll!” This very Italian invitation usually works and many a happy tourist is seen winding down to Capri’s dock with a pair of Viva’s sandals in hand.