When Alessandro was born, Victor Emmanuel II was King of Italy, Austria was ravaged by war, Garibaldi was the victorious hero of Sicily, and Florence was about to cede its place to Rome as capital of a newly unified Italy. Alessandro spent his childhood in Senigallia, a small town on the Adriatic sea. Skilled with his hands, Alessandro learned early on the craft of wood working. He also became quite famous for his leather work and this is the field he decided to pursue and perfect. Fascinated by an old shoemaker from his village who once lived in Marseilles, Alessandro decided to leave his country and move to France in 1887. On the way, he met a troupe of street entertainers with whom he would remain for a number of years: he made shoes for the actors and for their theatrical characters, learned to play several musical instruments to acompany their performances and developed a fine musical talent. He arrived in Paris in 1895 and practised the craft of shoemaking for ten years. The 1900 Paris World’s Fair was a period of great activity for Alessandro. It was an opportunity to make his name more widely known as well as set the stage for his son Torello, who would later grow the family business. While there, he met some of his most notorious customers such as Elizabeth Arden.
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