Riviera del Brenta footwear originates from the Venetian “Calegheri" (Cobblers) of the 13th century even if it developed fully only towards the end of the 19th century.
Its real beginnings go back to 1898 when Giovanni Luigi Voltan, drawing on his past experience in the most important shoe factories in the States, opened the first Italian industrialised footwear complexe in Stra. His example was soon followed by many more who, formed professionally at Luigi Voltan’s “school”, started similar enterprises.
The period after World War II saw shoe factories proliferating in the Riviera del Brenta even if quality was not particularly high at the start.
The technological-organisational leap takes place with the introduction of new machines and control and organisation techniques, a process supported by the creation of the European Community and the opening of the great foreign markets.
Today nearly 500 SMEs are working in the sector covering the whole production range. 10,000 people are employed by these companies. Annual production boasts 19 million pairs, 95% is women’s luxury/upper market footwear, the remaining 5% being men’s upper market shoes. Current turnover exceeds 1.6 billion Euros, 91% of which is export.
The specificity of the “Brentano” sector comes from the fact that nearly all the designer shoes found on the markets of the whole world are almost wholly manufactured – and to a considerable extent co-designed and marketed – by shoe factories in the Riviera del Brenta.