VIGEVANO, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Benedict got 15,001 pairs of shoes on Saturday.
During a visit to this northern city known as Italy's shoe capital, a local consortium gave one pair for himself and 15,000 more pairs for the needy around the world.
The Pope was given red loafers designed and manufactured by the Moreschi firm and made from kangaroo hide. [we'll be hearing from PETA soon...meanwhile, there's the fur to deal with]
Those destined for the poor include boots and other types of footwear. Local industrialists are due to send them directly to charities chosen by the Vatican.
Pope Benedict last year made headlines in the fashion media after reports that some of his shoes were designed and donated by top Italian fashion houses such as Prada but the Vatican has never confirmed this.
The Pope's footwear, usually red or burgundy, is called the "shoes of the fisherman" since popes are the successors of St Peter the Apostle, who was a fisherman.
Shoe manufacturing is a vital part of Vigevano's economy. It boasts a shoe museum illustrating the centuries of shoe making in the area, which began in small shops in the 16th century and grew to industrial scale in the 19th century.