Have you ever heard of the “Cioppine”?

In this article we will tell you the story of the ancient Venetian shoes: the cioppine.

In the twelfth century in Venice the shoemakers gathered in guilds called “Caleghèri” and “Zavateri” which also included the category of “Solarii”, ie those who produced the soles for shoes, and the category of “Patitari”, who instead produced the hooves called “Socchi” or “zanghe” with a wooden or cork sole.

With the influence of the various Oriental – Byzantine and Ottoman – Chinese styles, due to the many commercial exchanges that affected the Venice area, the shoes took new forms.

This is how the famous Venetian shoes were born: the Cioppine!

The cioppine were particular feminine shoes, equipped with a large wedge and used by all the ladies to walk around the streets of Venice.

Visitors from all over the world often made stops in Venice just to see the ladies wandering with the cioppine to the feet, shoes that made walking difficult.

The height of the wedge could even reach 50 cm and sometimes two helpers were needed to assist and help the lady get on shoes.

In this way they became a form of wealth index, the higher the wedge was, the more important the Lady was wearing it.

In this regard, the Venice Serenissima in the year 1430 issued a law that limited the height of the wedge to a normal size, about 8 cm.

But the law was completely ignored by all the people who continued to wear the cioppine.

In fact, even the Venetian husbands favored their use, since they limited the risk that their wives went around (because of the difficulty to walk on them) while they were out of town for work.

Even the ecclesiastical authorities approved them because these shoes, which limited the movements, discouraged activities that were considered sinful for them, including dance.

The wedges were then covered with leather or velvet, and the fabric of the cioppine was often the same used then also for the dress.

The cioppine became fashionable also in Spain, France, England and even in China.

They were then banned after many women suffered abortions due to falls caused by the use of excessively high footwear.