Viva Della Valle!  Handmade Sandals in Bermuda

By Brigitta Wohlmuth

Some people move to a big city to follow their dreams, but Vincenzo always preferred the Island life. He moved to Bermuda 19 years ago from the Italian Island of Capri. “Where I come from, they have a lot of little stores like this one,” he tells meDella Valle offers hand-made sandals, customized to your feet, made with all-Italian leather and materials. Inspired by his hometown he says: “I knew I wanted to bring something different here, like a combination of Bermuda and Europe, that’s where the idea comes from.”  In Bermuda, it’s the only store of its kind.

The boutique also multi-purposes as Vincenzo’s workshop. Open daily from 11am to 5pm at 19 Queen Street, he sits at his window passionately working leather into beautiful footwear. “This is my passion, of course,” he says, which is obvious from the moment you walk in the door. His vibrant personality coupled with his background in hospitality and retail makes him the perfect host. He strives to give customers the ultimate experience, personalized to each individual.  “I need to see the feet, to touch, and measure,” he says with a charming Italian accent. First you choose the base of the shoe (narrow, wide, wedge, heel or traditional roman flat), and then the design. He has a variety of styles and colors and all of his materials are made out of the highest quality, environmentally friendly leather from the regions of South Italy and Tuscany. For tourists here on a short stay, the shoes can be ready the same day, in as quickly as two hours.

You book an appointment to be fitted and guests are offered a cappuccino or espresso while they wait, even champagne or prosecco to customers who schedule a private shopping event, popular for birthdays and bridal parties.

“I try to put everything I have here, my strength, my heart, my passion. I want to offer quality, ” he says with conviction. Opening this store has been his lifelong dream come true.

As a young boy he was taken on as an apprentice by the legendary sandal maker Antonio Viva. His store L’ Arte del Sandalo Caprese’ (loosely translated “The Art of the Sandals of Capri”), is one of the oldest and most acclaimed in Capri. Established since 1958, it attracts high-profile tourists from all over the world and has been featured in publications like Forbes and Elle Italia. In fact, the first week Vincenzo opened his boutique, he was actually visited by a couple from NY who were in Bermuda celebrating their 30th anniversary.  They had bought sandals from Viva 30 years before on their honeymoon in Capri, and were now in Bermuda 30 years later, buying sandals from Della Valle!

Visit Della Valle at 19 Queen Street, City of Hamilton . 441 236 7263 .

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