MILANER was born in one of Italy’s largest luxury manufacturing regions: Le Marche. This area is such a hub of committed craftsmanship that during the summer each year a festival celebrating all things shoemaking takes place. This summer, while home in the tiny town of Porto Sant'Elpidio, we discovered the “Premio de lu Cazolà”, or The Shoe-Making Grand Prix. This was the event’s 23rd annual and we saw its highest attendance to date.

During the premio, six different neighborhoods raced in competition to replicate a pair of blue suede heels from scratch in the quickest time possible. From cutting the leather and hand-gluing its edges, to fine-tuning the position of a jeweled decorative clasp, each team worked brilliantly against the clock for the chance to prove their skill.

Locals crowded Piazza Garibaldi and cheered on their favorite team. Stage performers sang and performed dances. The best runners from each neighborhood raced material from one station of shoemaking to the next, without any of the shoemakers batting an eye at the festivity surrounding them.

In the end, it was the green-shirted il Quartiere Marina Picena that won. Though we think it goes without saying that the true winner is Italy’s hardwired artisan spirit; it’s perfectly encapsulated by this event. To stumble upon an evening fair that goes beyond fried food and questionable carnival rides to celebrate lifelong, handcrafted talent… well, “Only in Italy” is right.

This is where so many of MILANER’s artisans come from. We hope now you’re starting to see the glimmer of why we celebrate. 

Photos by Diego Capozucca

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