Papal shoemaker 'excited' at equipping new pope

Adriano Stefanelli has supplied papal footwear since John Paul

Papal shoemaker 'excited' at equipping new pope

Novara, March 5 - An artisanal shoemaker in northern Italy is already rubbing his hands at the prospect of making the shoes for the pope who emerges from the conclave starting next week. "I'm touched and excited," Adriano Stefanelli told ANSA Tuesday at his workshop in Novara. The acclaimed cobbler first started fashioning handmade papal shoes for John Paul II and carried on with the Polish pope's successor, crafting the dainty red footwear that attracted attention to Benedict XVI's feet before he became the first pope in 600 years to abdicate. Standing proudly in Stefanelli's atelier are copies of the bespoke brown-leather slip-ons the Novara craftsman made for Benedict's retirement, set to start in a Vatican monastery this summer. Benedict, whose reign ended on Thursday night, opted to leave behind the red shoes that were a fashion statement during his papacy. Their humbler brown successors are "ideal for the pope emeritus's retirement," Stefanelli said.

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