To dress like the gondoliers you'll need to pick up a pair of genuine friulane slippers at Gianni Dittura, which has been the major Venice distributor of these unique footware for more than 50 years. Made by hand in Italy's neighboring Friuli region, these velvet slippers with pointed toes are actually proper shoes if you inspect the soles closely – the best quality ones are fashioned from rubber from old bicycle tires. The poor invented the shoes, initially using scraps of velvet from local factories and rubber to fashion a functional piece of protective footware. But as so often tends to happen when pertaining fashion trends, as the centuries wore on the shoes first gained a status as cult objects and next became luxury products coveted by tourists. Today Gianni Dittura has two Venice shops, and you'll find every color and size of the original velvet and rubber shoes as well as more chic and contemporary winter models by in-house designer Laura Biagiotti.