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Something’s Afoot! Posted by on Oct 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

I recently wrote a short dialogue about buying shoes in Italy called ‘In A Shoe Shop In Italy’, which somehow ended up becoming a series of short stories about Carmela and her Italian shoe obsession: Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3

Well folks, you too can now develop your own Italian footwear obsession with my handy list below.
Let’s begin by looking at the range of calzature (footwear) that you might find in un negozio di calzature (a shoe shop)

We’ll start by dividing them according to heel height:

scarpe senza tacco (flat shoes)
scarpe col tacco basso (shoes with low heels)
scarpe col tacco alto (high heels)
scarpe col tacco a spillo (stilettos)
zeppe o zatteroni (platform shoes)

A Venezia, nel XVI secolo, un modello di calzatura chiamata “Chopina” costringeva le donne ad arrampicarsi su zatteroni che giungevano in alcuni casi a sfiorare il mezzo metro di altezza

A Venezia, nel XVI secolo, un modello di calzatura chiamata “Chopina” costringeva le donne ad arrampicarsi su zatteroni che giungevano in alcuni casi a sfiorare il mezzo metro di altezza.

Chopine veneziane del XVI secolo dal Museo Palazzo Mocenigo a Venezia

Chopine veneziane del XVI secolo dal Museo Palazzo Mocenigo a Venezia

Common types of footwear

le ballerine = ballerina shoes

le decolleté = the classic woman’s low cut shoes, normally with high heels

i sandali = the sandals

i sabot = mules, slip on shoes

gli/le infradito = (literally: in between the toes) flip flops

gli stivaletti = smart ankle boots, for men and for women

gli stivali = knee length boots

stivali-louis-vuitton

gli stivali ridicoli!

gli stivali di gomma = Wellington/rubber boots

i  mocassini = loafers, moccasins

gli scarponi = walking boots, heavy duty ankle boots

le sneakers = sneakers, of course! When I was a child they were called le scarpe da tennis (tennis shoes)

le trainers = trainers, once upon a time they were called le scarpe da ginnastica = sport shoes

gli zoccoli = clogs

le pantofole, or le ciabatte = slippers

Pattine per il tuo cane!

Pattine per il tuo cane!

le pattine = (literally = little skaters) completely flat slippers with soft soles made out of a wool type fabric. These were very popular in the past when housewives used to wax the floor tiles. As you couldn’t walk normally with them, you literally had to ‘skate’. This meant that you polished the floor as you moved around the house. However, le pattine were the cause of many nasty household accidents!
I still remember going to my grandmother’s apartment, and as we walked through the door, there was a row of pattine awaiting for us. We had to remove our shoes and put the pattine on.  My brothers loved them because they used to take a few quick steps and then slide down along the corridor hitting the end wall or any piece of furniture they found on their way, to the great despair of our grandmother.

N.B. ice skates are called i pattini da ghiaccio

Shoe related vocabulary:

il calzascarpe = the shoehorn

il calzolaio = the cobbler

la soletta = the insole

il plantare anatomico = the orthopaedic support, arch support

la scarpiera = the shoe rack

Words and expressions that derive from footwear:

un pantofolaio = a couch potato

la scarpata = the scarp, escarpment

scarpinare = to traipse

una scarpinata = a long, hard walk in the mountains

la ciabatta = a type of low and shapeless bread, which rather resembles an old worn out slipper. It’s also a common name for an electrical plug board.

la scarpaccia = (literally: ugly old shoe) a sweet tart made with young courgettes, typical of Viareggio (Toscana)

fare le scarpe a qualcuno = (literally: to make shoes for someone) to pull the rug out from under someone’s feet

fare la scarpetta = (literally: to make a little shoe), a Roman expression meaning ‘to mop up the sauce on your plate with some bread’.

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Comments:

  1. rita Kostopoulos:

    Se avessi lecarpe con le ali volerei in Italia per visitarvi
    FELICE AUTUNNO!
    Rita

  2. Chippy:

    Molto utile di nuovo – grazie!!


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