SCARPÈT an always fashionable shoe

Scarpetto maschile da Festa Poffabro, Pordenone sec. XIX Museo Etnografico Civici Musei Udine

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Translation by Marina Dlacic

The scarpét 1 (scarpes, shoesz, scarpetti) are simple cloth shoes, without heels, typical of the popular tradition of Carnia: a mountain area in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region (north-east of Italy). These are closed slippers or flat slippers, common throughout the Alpine area and also present in the plains, worn for centuries by women, men and children and manifactured at home with old rags that could not be recycled for a different use.

Expression of a culture where there was no waste and where waste was a resource, the scarpes for the less wealthy class were a luxury, they lasted a lifetime and were worn only for important occasions, such as parties or weddings, while for work people generally  used heavy wooden clogs (dalmine). But often the feet, especially those of the children, were barefoot (discolz)

The sole consisted of a layer of about one centimeter of overlapping fabrics (blecs), sewn together with a pointed needle and a very robust yarn. This phase of the work was particularly tiring, it required a lot of patience and a certain strength. The upper, sewn firmly to the sole, was in dark gray cloth, moleskin or velvet and finished with contrasting color borders. The front was often embroidered with colored wool or silk yarns. To embellished the accessory, simple geometric motifs or delicate bunches of flowers, edelweiss, ears of wheat, which, rendered in a naturalistic way, communicated positive and auspicious messages.

The basic shape was the same, but not without slight differences: small bows, cockades, buttons or strips of ruffled fabric garnished the upper, the tip could be round, pointed or raised upwards. The latter characteristic facilitated the journey in rough and steep terrain. The rounded opening was more or less pronounced and could be enriched with a pic (graceful modeled toe), or with a short legging (scarpeti cu la gugia) in wool or raw white knitted cotton (the upper part of the heavy sock) held on the instep by a pretty colored ribbon.

1 On the topic: Michele Gortani, Popular Art in Carnia, the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, Friulian Philological Society, 1965; Through the dress. Models, fabrics, decorations, accessories, by G. Morandini, C. Romeo and L. C. Tommasi Crudeli, in ways of dressing, ways of being. Popular clothing and traditional costumes from Friuli, edited by G. P. Gri, pp. 49-155, Tavagnacco (Udine) 2003; E. Brunello and C. Romeo, Textile Collections of Cjase Cocèl, in Feagne, Roberto TIRELLI (edited by), Unique Number of the Friulian Philological Society, pp. 169 – 211, S. Dorigo della Valle (Trieste) 2007; C. Romeo, The popular costume, in New lessons of Friulian language and culture, edited by F. Vicario, Friulian Philological Society, pp. 41-80, Pasian di Prato (Udine) 20

Stafèt viêrt mieçe pÎt da festa – Museo Cjase Cocèl Fagagna – Udine

The origin of these shoes is very ancient, different cultures very distant from each other in time and space, although they have never met, they have adopted the same type of footwear, their shape in fact stemmed naturally from objective needs and the potential of materials available on the territory.
Also, not far from Udine, in Fagagna, San Daniele and Gonars, since the early twentieth century the traditional Friulian shoes have been produced, similar to those of Carnia, but in these areas they are called stafèt sierât or viêrt (mieçe pÎt); lined and reinforced under the sole with resistant material (fragment of bicycle wheel tire); in the male version, towards the instep, they had an elastic tape that allowed ample freedom of movement. The stafètùs for the little ones were tight on the legs with the tirelute, a strap closed by a small button

Stafèt sierât femminili da festa sec.XIX – Museo Cjase Cocèl Fagagna, Udine

Today, there are several artisans who offer timeless scarpét to the contemporary market, obtaining a moderate success and certainly feeling great satisfaction and pride for the privilege of belonging to a land so beautiful and rich in traditions.
At IL CAVALIR Ecomuseum of the People of Collina di Fagagna (Friuli, Italy), in the “Art of Weaving” Laboratory, set up for the rediscovery of the traditional textile art of Friuli, a series of footwear was produced which, although re-proposing the traditional ones satisfy a modern taste. The fabrics for the silk, linen and cotton uppers were made on 16 and 12 heddle hand looms. The designs (small work) are inspired by those of the ancient Carnian weavers of the eighteenth century, well documented in the manuscripts of the craftsmen (from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries) that the laboratory has been studying for a few years. The footwear was made by hand by a Friulian craftsman. The weavers are Flavia Assini, Franca Fiascaris and Angela Gorasso, the teacher is Carmen Romeo

The photographs are from Carmen Romeo’s photographic archive

Disegni del settecento per le scarpette friulane del Laboratorio ”ARTE DELLA TESSITURA“ Fagagna – Udine. Fotografia di Silvia Di Natal

Scarpette con un cuore antico. Laboratorio ”ARTE DELLA TESSITURA“ Fagagna – Udine

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