Italian footwear for over a hundred years
The history of Fratelli Battistini’s shoe factory
From Trento to Forlì, from Monastier to the all world
“Over a century of company history, totally committed to shoes’ production.”
The experience of Battistini’s shoe factory, that was to become Fratelli Battistini S.p.A., can be summarized in these few simple words. Remembering all the events that have characterized the Twentieth Century, everyone can recognize the company’s strengh and endurance, that was able to overcome the troubled time of the World Wars, developing itself through the years of recostruction and of the economic boom and recently adapted to the new scenarios imposed by the global market.
But how did it all begin?
The history of Fratelli Battistini S.p.A., has been born from the cooperation of 5 brothers that, after leaving Comasine, their birth place in the province of Trento at the beginning of the XX° century, opened in Forlì on the 1st October 1914 a trade business of leather, copper and later a footwear production.
The business, grew from strenght to strenght reaching national relevance.
The initial five founders became 600 workers in the 1930’s, with 500 women (for whom the company always had an eye of consideration) and reached its maximum during World War II with 1100 workers.
“The company has given to his employees favourable working conditions with comfortable, wide and airy laboratories. A specific space is designated as refectory for all the workers that live in periferic areas and that can’t go home to have a meal. Given the relevant number of female employees, the factory is provided with a nursing space.”
(ref.: AS-FC, Prefecture of Forlì, Cabinet, 1935, b. 325, Category 9, dossier 1 “Honors”)
With the militarization of the second decade of the Fascist period, the company was minutely analyzed, with the purpose of understanding its potentiality in case of a war. Despite the autarchy and the consequent productive tecniques’ adaptation, compared to the difficulty of finding foreign raw materials, the factory in Forlì continued its production assuming an important role during World War II. Since 1940, it became one of the Italian Army’s suppliers.
During the war there were strikes, labour union negotiations and working hours’ changes to avoid bombing. All this reached its peak with the raid of the building, first of all by the Germans retreating and then by the local people. The factory was rebuilt, at the beginning of the Italian Republic period, thanks to the aids of the Marshall Plan. Through this new channel, it also began to open towards the American market.
For the consequent logistic problems given by the factory’s position in the center of Forlì, the idea of a new headquarter began to solidify. Monastier, in the province of Treviso, was chosen as the new headquartier in 1961 and it became the registered office of the company in 1966. The factory in Forlì continued its production of shoes for the U.S.A. until the 1970’s. Then it kept supplying the public istitutions (Army, Navy, Aviation), even in the new building in Villa Selva, that was in activity until 1994. The old factory in Forlì has now become the headquarter for the new State Archive.
In the first 1990’s a new factory was built in Rio Maior, Portugal. The Portuguese branch gradually gained importance for Army supplies. Sadly it ceased its activity in 2007.
The factory in Monastier stopped the production of rubber items in 2005. Today it trades and supplies its brands of rubber boots and sports articles, manufactured with their know-how in East Europe and in the Far East.