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Ferragamo, Florence

16/r Via Tornabuoni
Tel: 39 055 292 123's insider take:

Salvatore Ferragamo's rags-to-riches story is the stuff of fairy tales; born into a poor family (one of 14 children) in Naples in 1898, he emigrated to the United States at the age of 16 and soon started making shoes for movie stars. He moved back to Florence in 1927 and opened his workshop in the formidable Palazzo Spini Feroni, which today houses the company's headquarters and this large store selling everything from the classic silk scarves and daintily bowed court shoes to more contemporary designs. Footwear fetishists should not miss a visit to the Shoe Museum (entrance at No. 2; 39-055-336-0456; open by appointment or for temporary exhibitions), which includes styles worn by the likes of Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, and Marilyn Monroe, plus documentation on Ferragamo's personal life story.

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