The exhibition explores the history, social role and symbolic value of footwear from Classical times to the modern era

In the Greek world, for example, thickness of sole, colour and adornment were features that allowed people to identify the wearer's status. The exhibition illustrates the main types of footwear in use in the 5th and 4th centuries BC with finds from archaeological digs in northern Europe, while depictions on reliefs, figured vases and statues fill out and expand on the archaeological evidence. Complementing this main section, a special section explores the story of ancient footwear in 20th century culture through two complementary channels: fashion and the cinema. Shoes by some of the last century's leading Italian designers are displayed alongside models by Pompei Shoes, Italy's most celebrated manufacturer of footwear for the cinema, from such epic "sword-and-sandal" movies as Cleopatra, Quo Vadis, Ben Hur and The Gladiator.

The exhibition is curated by Lorenza Camin, Caterina Chiarelli and Fabrizio Paolucci.

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Pitti Palace, Museum of Costume and Fashion

16 December 2019 – 19 April 2020