Today, we took the bus on a drive to Montebelluna to visit the Dynafit factory, where we got to see the boots go from small plastic pellets to full-on ski boots. Photos were prohibited, but here are a few random notes:
1) Black boots are made with 9 parts clear/opaque white plastic pellets and one part black pellets. A lot less black plastic than I’d thought for black boots.
2) The paint is applied via stamp machines that transfer a negative of the graphics detail. I thought that they’d spray it through a template or something, but it really is more of a transfer process: the stamp picks it up, then applies it to the boot. Very cool.
3) There are machines involved, but these boots are hand-made for sure. There are hands on these boots in every stage of the process, from trimming the molds to applying the labels on the boxes at the end of the process. From now on, when I see “Made in Italy,” I’m going to have a very clear idea of what that means.
Then we hit up the Museo de Scarpone (boot museum) where boot designing legend Mario Sartor walked us through his designs and the history of the boot. Literally. Hiking boots, ski boots, everything. Mario and his translator walked us through the museum and he gave us all first-hand accounts of the evolution of the ski boot from leather and hobnails to the injection-molded badassery that we’re wearing today. Oddly enough, my favorite displays were the boots with the fur. No apple-bottom jeans, though.
After that, it was a bus ride to Da Lina Pizzeria in for the best pizza in the area. How did it compare to stateside fare? Super-thin crust, creamy mozzarella, and sweet tomato sauce and spicy sausage (aka pepperoni) made it one of the best I’ve ever had. And it was so grease-free that I slammed the whole 15-inch pizza without feeling like I ate a bowling ball. We have a winner.
Then, instead of hanging out in Venice, we went straight to Udine, a small town in northeastern Italy, where we checked into the Ambassador Palace Hotel and went exploring. Udine is slammed with piazzas – every other block had a wide-open space filled with gorgeous architecture and open sitting areas, all connected by narrow alleyways, cobblestone streets, and the occasional canal.
The lack of tourists was refreshing – the place was bustling, but never crowded, and the vast majority of the people we saw waked around with the familiar nonchalance of a local. It puts out more of a “regular Italian town” vibe than it does the usual “tourist trap” one.
After dinner and drinks, we crashed at the hotel to rest up for a day of via ferrata in Austria.