The Mercurio brothers are third generation of dedicated equestrian crafsmen.
Photography RASMUS SKOUSEN Text SEBASTIAN MACHADO / The Horse Rider’s Journal No.5
The bootmaker Mercurio has been creating exquisite footwear since 1932. From its store located in north Rome, run by brothers Giuseppe and Antonio Mercurio, it supplies made-to-measure riding boots to 400 mounted military police, the riders of the Loro Piana Jumping Team and the honorary presidential guards of the Fourth Regiment of the Corazzieri of Tor Di Quinta. In fact the boutique is located inside the barracks at Tor Di Quinta.
Giuseppe and Antonio are the third generation of artisans in the family business, upholding its tradition of passion for horses and leather care. Because every foot is unique and because Mercurio makes boots for those who have to wear them all day, they apply a simple philosophy: Footwear should enclose yet mould itself to the foot, not the other way around.
If you’ve ever seen the Corrazzieri guards, the first thing you notice is their imposing stature. They are all at least two metres tall. This means that their boots are generally a size 47 or larger. The posture created by the footwear is of great importance to the guards, so a newly finished pair of boots will be rigorously checked by the soldier upon receipt.
Loro Piana and Mercurio’s shared passion for quality, comfort and equestrianism means that the riders of the Loro Piana Team are also found among the bootmaker’s clientele. As well as professional riding boots for both men and women, Mercurio makes classic shoes for men and long boots for everyday use for women.
The assembly of every single boot is carried out entirely by hand, using entirely natural materials. Even the glue is hand-mixed according to a secret recipe. The initial last is hand-cut in beech wood by Giuseppe himself after a thorough measurement and examination of the client’s feet and walk. This process can be anything from an hour to a week. Then comes the selection of cut, with either supple calf or Zebu leather chosen for the upper. Finally, the soles are constructed and given a finish with beeswax for two hours before being picked up or sent off to the client. This time-consuming method limits the shop’s production capacity to between five and seven pairs a day. As one of the brothers notes: “The machines we use to produce the boots have gone out of production.” They indeed date back to the infamous era of Rome in the 1960s.
The key to Mercurio’s success is the company’s meticulous attention to detail and endless love for its products. Mercurio’s clients all tell the same story of their experience after a visit: The brothers are incredibly sweet, and the passion and craftsmanship you sense in the room are almost overwhelming.
Maybe that’s why the family’s symbol is two horses kissing, forming an M for Mercurio. •