A Fashionable Bit Of Italy In Vero Beach

Maledetti Toscani brings its fine leather goods to a new home.
Nearly all of the store’s décor, including the sign and the clever shoe storage unit, were imported from Italy.

They say that home is where the heart is. But what if your heart is torn between two equally captivating places that lie more than 8,000 miles apart? With the help of a wonderful business partner named Ann Marie Lloyd Shiff, a few good friends and some serendipitous circumstances, Stephanie Gore has brought a little bit of the Italy that she cherishes right here to her equally beloved city of Vero Beach.

Last August, Stephanie and Ann Marie, her long-time colleague in the event-planning business, opened the first, United States-based Maledetti Toscani. Located on Beachland Boulevard, the flagship store – like the company’s many other locations throughout Italy, the Netherlands and Canada – offers jackets, shoes, bags and accessories that are handmade in Italy, using only the finest-quality Italian leathers and materials.

The first chapter of the story takes place in Italy beginning in 1848 with the great-great-grandfather of brothers and current owners Nicola “Nikke” and Alesandro “Belli” Quadri. A bookbinder-turned-cobbler, he began making fine quality shoes in the town of Montepulciano, Italy. He passed on the craft to his son Zaccaria, who managed Maledetti Toscani for nearly 40 years.

After Zaccaria returned from World War I, his son Livio joined the company. The 18-year-old quickly proved himself a gifted cobbler; and longing to see “the land of opportunity,” he set off for New York where he repaired shoes for affluent clients in a Manhattan basement before eventually opening a small shoe-making shop in the city. People appreciated his use of quality materials and his meticulous craftsmanship, and the business began to flourish. However, the stock market crash and the Great Depression, combined with Zaccaria’s waning health and desire to step down from the business in Montepulciano, landed Livio back in Italy.

Read the entire article in the March 2016 issue

Categories: Fashion, Features