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The Life of a Shoemaker in Southern Italy?

The Life of a Shoemaker in Southern Italy?

Posted: 5 Feb 2012 3:04AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Mangani
So I've discovered that my great-grandfather Giovanni Mangani (b.1870) was a shoemaker (calzolaio) in Chiaramonte Gulfi, Ragusa, Sicily. I've tried looking online but it's hard to find things about the lives of people in particular occupations, let alone in a particular place. I don't need specifics, but would anyone know where I can find some information about the life of a shoemaker in southern Italy during the mid/late 19th century?

Re: The Life of a Shoemaker in Southern Italy?

Posted: 5 Feb 2012 11:50AM GMT
Classification: Query
I can't answer your question specifically, but I would try going offline -- and go to the local library. If you need help you can always ask the librarian. Books not available in your library may be available by library loan.

Re: The Life of a Shoemaker in Southern Italy?

Posted: 8 Feb 2012 12:50PM GMT
Classification: Query
The following is based on some research I have done about this occupation:

The calzolaio or cobbler was unlike his counterpart here in the United States. He did not repair old shoes, as did those who were called ciabattini. The shoe repairman worked in a shop near to where the cobbler’s shop was located in the town. The cobbler, instead of repairing old shoes, custom-made new ones for those who were financially well-off and/or of distinction. He was almost always consigned his work on Sundays, or on town market days. The contadini, or peasants, were never his customers though. These poor people typically wore sandals, which they purchased from traveling merchants at local markets. The cobbler would never condescend to make the type of shoes they needed.

A cobbler always owned a town shop which normally had walls filled with hides or skins of all different kinds, which would be used in the making of shoes and their soles. He also had wood forms to shape the shoes, and a variety of tools, such a hammer, which would be used to nail the sole to the bottom of the shoe, pincers, which were like forceps, and needles to use for whatever sewing had to be done. He would also have polish that a beekeeper had brought to him to use on his finished product

Some references which are in Italian:

www.andreasormani.altervista.org/mestieri.htm

http://www.educazione.sm/scuola/servizi/cd_virtuali/lavori_s...

Re: The Life of a Shoemaker in Southern Italy?

Posted: 8 Feb 2012 1:34PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you so much! I tried searching at my college library and my local library but found nothing. This helps :)

Re: The Life of a Shoemaker in Southern Italy?

Posted: 8 Feb 2012 4:09PM GMT
Classification: Query
Happy to have helped you. If you come across any other Italian occupations with which you need help, you can email me at plp36@yahoo.com. I've done extensive research on the various occupations I have found in the Italian records for my husband's ancestry, and my own, so I could possibly have information to help you. Too many researchers make the mistake of accepting translations of the Italian words into English without really giving thought to what was involved in the occupations or trades of their ancestors.
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