Flights of fancy

Ferragamo publishes childrens book

Gabriella Tama
October 18, 2007

Fiera, a new children’s book written by Annamaria Sbisa and illustrated by Michela Petoletti, brings to life the beauty and whimsy of Ferragamo’s silk scarves and introduces young readers to Florence.


Six playful creatures are aboard a hot air balloon sailing with no evident destination, when, thanks to a tear in its fabric, the balloon lands on top of the Duomo. Led by Leonardo Leopard, the crew disembarks in search of adventure. 


Each character is dissatisfied with something about himself and wants to change his identity or escape from it. Linda the Parrot hits the beauty salon, Ella Elephant goes to the spa, Audrey Giraffe and Grace Butterfly go shopping on Florence’s legendary via Tornabuoni, and Jackie Zebra sips martinis at local bars.


Only Leonardo Leopard explores Florence, recognizing the beauty and originality of its art, palaces, bridges, museums and monuments. Upset with his friends for losing themselves.  He helps each of them discover their talents by guiding them around Florence, showing them how beautiful and original each one is. Together they work to create a new balloon, the Oballoon of dreams, that will take them far away, seeking new adventures.


The book, recently released by Salvatore Ferragamo Italia with Mondadoni Electa, was the innovation of James Ferragamo, grandson of the founder of the company, Salvatore Ferragamo. In an introduction, James writes about his reason for publishing the book: ‘We wanted to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the company with a publication, combining the originality and fantasy of the designs created, with a celebration of Florence, the city of Ferragamo’.


I was tremendously impressed with both the creativity of the story and the breathtaking illustrations.  They are so beautiful and so expressive of Florence that Ferragamo could easily print them to sell as art!  I strongly recommend this masterpiece to anyone up for an adventure.

To launch Fiera, James hosted a party at one of the family’s estates, Il Borro.  The party was designed especially for children. A troop of clowns greeted the kids as they arrived and kept everybody entertained and energetic throughout the evening. Silly games were organized. The food was kid friendly and the desserts were abundant.  But the best, most memorable moment, was the ride in the hot air balloon, the balloon of Leonardo and his friends. Although the fire propelling the balloon was a bit startling, the assent was thrilling.


The book, sold exclusively in Ferragamo stores, is available in English and in Italian. Proceeds are going to a New York City charity, Baby Buggy, which raises funds to provide necessities to indigent parents of infant children.  Its website,, states, ‘Our primary goal at Baby Buggy is to ensure that all parents and families have the means to provide clothing and gear for their infants and young children.’ The founder of Baby Buggy is Jessica Seinfeld, wife of American T.V. personality, Jerry Seinfeld.


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