Once upon a time I worked in a small little clothes shop in a quiet piazza set back from the beach. It was rather boring, spending the day closed inside a musty, windowless shop, so I looked around for something to occupy my time with. My friend Dino has a little sandal shop across the square and often I would wander over and watch him making sandals.
Dino and his father decide what style sandal they are going to make, then choose colours, leather straps, thongs, bands and accessories too. Sometimes I used to help, suggesting matching colours or stitching twine or ribbon into holes that Dino would punch into a piece of leather. The small work table is tiny and covered with tools, nails, soles and scissors, and the walls stacked to the ceiling with coloured laces and ribbons, sequins and flowers. If you have a specific idea of what type of sandal you want, you only have to ask. Dino will find the right sized sole for you and measure the straps and buckles, then either offer you a seat or tell you to come back after lunch, and create your very own made to measure sandals.
Over the years Dino has been very sweet and kind, always mending my broken shoes free of charge. He came to England once with a friend and they stayed at my house for a month. They hid under the kitchen counter in fright the first time they saw a milkcart, they taught my Dad how to make proper Neapolitan coffee, and my Mum how to cook a variety of pasta dishes.
If you're ever in town, why not stop by and say hello to Dino? Just walk straight up from the pier and you'll find his little sandal shop.