U scarpêre (the shoemaker)

The shoemaker (u scarpêre, in Alberobello dialect) has always been considered a hard worker, busy for many hours in his workshop repairing old shoes and making new ones starting from wooden or iron lasts. It is not difficult to imagine a shoemaker at work in a trullo, comfortably seated on his stool while he repairs shoes holding them in his hands. A curious tool of this job is the "deschetto", the typical shoemaker's work table which you could discover near the bed in one of the historic Trulli Holiday homes, adapted to perform the function of a bedside table.

Il calzolaio Lorenzo Tarafino al lavoro in un trullo di Alberobello
Il calzolaio Lorenzo Tarafino lavora in un trullo di Alberobello

Often, behind the shoemaker, there was a shelving with several shelves in which both the shoes to be repaired and those already ready were arranged, together with the tools. The most used were certainly hammers and anvils, pliers, nails and blades. The shoemaker placed the shoes on anvils of different shapes, such as those that in our trullo are positioned to the right of the fireplace, to proceed with the processing. It was not uncommon to turn to the shoemaker also to give new life to the shoes that were skilfully "polished".

Shoemaking was certainly a highly sought-after profession, but not very satisfactory from the economic point of view. In fact, it was said that "the shoemaker makes shoes for others and he goes with broken shoes" because his work was not very profitable and therefore he could not take care of his own shoes. Sometimes we also find it nowadays, don't you think?

Il calzolaio lavora in trullo ad Alberobello
Il calzolaio Lorenzo Tarafino lavora in un trullo con Martello e chiodi

Source: “Humanism of the Stone. Reflections”, yearbooks 1999/2008 (Gino Angiulli, professor, geologist and writer).

In the pictures: Lorenzo Tarafino, Alberobello shoemaker by profession for generations; he is passionate about his job and he is always in the workshop to check that the work of the younger ones is proceeding in the right direction.

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