Fine Florentine footwear

The art of crafting a bespoke shoe

Editorial Staff
January 17, 2013

One of Florence's best-known artisans, Vivian Saskia Wittmer, known simply as Saskia, is a German-born bespoke shoemaker who decided to make Florence her home almost two decades ago.


Florentine leather shoe | Photo by Jason Pier in DC on Flickr Florentine leather shoe | Photo by Jason Pier in DC on Flickr


With a passion for shoes since she was a young child, after her studies in Germany she apprenticed in the workshop of a famous German shoemaker. In 1996, she came to Florence to learn more about bespoke shoemaking, as Florence has always been famous for the craft. She started her Florentine adventure in the workshop of the world-renowned Florentine cobbler, Stefano Bemer, and, after two years, she opened her own altelier in via di Santa Lucia (


One of the few female cobblers in the world, when a client walks into her workshop, the first thing she does is study the anatomy of the client's foot. Then, she decides with the client the colour, model and kind of leather to use. Personal contact is key and knowing her client's habits and passions makes her work a greater success.


Patience, skill and taste have made Saskia one of the most sought-after artisans at the annual three-day Artigianato e Palazzo fair, held this May 16 to 19 in Florence's Corsini gardens and and celebrating its 19th anniversary this year, in which she has participated 11 times. She is a magnificent example and ambassador of Florence's longstanding artisan tradition.


This article is published in collaboration with Artigianato e Palazzo

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