To dress like the gondoliers you'll need to pick up a pair of genuine friulane slippers at Gianni Dittura, one of the few remaining purveyors of the original footwear in Venice
. Friulanes (or furlanes) were born of frugality in the 19th century, when the women of poor families in the Friuli countryside began hand-stitching cast-off fabric scraps to old bicycle tires to make shoes for their families. The slippers eventually made their way to Venice, where gondoliers snapped them up because they were cheap, comfortable, and didn’t scratch the paint on their boats. But as the years passed, friulanes inevitably went from lowly upcycled footwear to cult object and luxury product 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.