Capri is a jewel of an island off the Amalfi Coast. It is a stunning location full of history and natural wonders, surrounded by the deep blue sea…a magical place that has enchanted visitors for centuries.
I watched in awe as the ferry drew closer…
…but, honestly, what was really on my mind was finding myself a pair of those famous sandals.
Legend has it that Emperor Tiberious started the sandal-wearing trend in Capri when he moved there in 27 AD. Variations in color and style developed over the years, and socialites and fashion icons like Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly made the sandals of Capri a chic, must-have accessory.
What I wasn’t prepared for were the multitudes of shops, side by side, that all sold their own versions (oh, so many colors and styles) of the popular sandals to tourists. Suddenly they didn’t seem quite so special anymore, but that didn’t stop me.
As luck would have it, I stumbled across Ragozzino’s. I knew I’d found my sandals.
As I was taking in all the variations and struggling to decide which pair I wanted, the proprietor, Gino Ragozzino, stepped up beside me and said he could make anything I wanted…in 10 minutes.
I’m usually pretty observant, but I had been so intent on choosing a pair of sandals that I hadn’t even noticed the baskets of leather sandal soles with various heels, the leather straps hanging everywhere, and the corner “workbench” laden with tools.
The choice just got harder now that I could design my own, but much more interesting…
I chose a sole with a half-inch heel, and was deliberating on the strap color when Gino’s son, Reno, walked in with a bag full of orange straps. “The newest color.”
Reno sat down and got to work on my sandals.
While he worked, I asked questions. I found out that his grandfather, Salvatore, had opened the shop in 1951. A picture of him hung on the wall above.
Gino has worked in the shop for forty years, and his son, Reno, started to work for him when he was twenty.
He kept working, and I kept talking…
All of a sudden…ta da! My custom sandals were finished. Bellissimo!
I was so excited that I almost left without paying for them. As I bid Gino and Reno, “arrivederci,” they agreed to pose for one last photograph.
Happily, I left the island with my own little piece of Capri magic.
Ragozzino Shoes Di Perin Ricciotti
Piazza Ignazio Cerio, 9, Capri NA, Italy