Italians do everything with flair and quality. I ponder this fact as I am crammed into my economy seat, jetting home to Fieldstone Farms after a long work week in Rome. I just completed the Artego Academy for hair colorists, led by the flamboyant and omni- talented, Attilio Flammia and his lovely colleague, Fiorella Notarianna (need I say more?). My class consisted of 3 American, 3 Belgian and a 1 Korean hairdresser, making us a global cornucopia. Having the opportunity to not only learn Artego’s ideas for the future of their image, but to visit the actual factory was telling. Even though it was an industrial setting, every part of the building had some facet of décor to show off. The laboratory had fashion posters hung amongst the endless rows of secret ingredients and essential oils, and someone had created a monstrous collage of a happy pink heart, on a silver background, made only from hundreds of used tubes of Artego hair color. So creative. Bellisimo. Italian.
The fact that I arrived just before conclave and departed on the first day of Pope Francis’ reign was merely a coincidence, but it certainly made for some extra excitement in the air. Who knew that I would be sharing my flight with Charlie Rose, or that I would get to see Diane Sawyer’s facelift up close (she looks amazing, by the way). All of that added to the surrealism of being in an ancient city, during an ancient ritual, while strolling upon the footsteps of thousands of years of history. I visited the Vatican the night before conclave began, just after they hung the new red drapes for the newest pope. I found myself standing in the middle of St. Peter’s square, which was nearly empty, feeling completely overwhelmed and moved to tears. The spiritual presence of the place is tangible. Even the birds seemed to be celebrating as they circled the dome and a visiting children’s choir sang from the portico….it was heart pounding.
Each day after class, we were able to grab a shuttle to the “center” as it is called, which is the heart of Rome. Traffic whizzes by the Coliseum and other jaw dropping sights as if it’s just another day and it’s just another place, while I try to stop wandering around with my mouth hanging open. The streets are lined with enormous, numerous, startlingly fascinating works of art, sculpture, and architecture. The bridge crossing the Tiber River, near the Vatican, is lined with at least a dozen enormous angels who gaze over your head into the distance as you cross. I only got to see Rome by night, but I think that may have been an advantage, as everything is illuminated to emphasize the majesty of it all. If you have a love of art, history, fashion or just simple beauty, be sure to visit Rome. I didn’t feel the need to spend loads of money on guided tours, but rather opened my eyes and wandered. The streets are made from black square cobblestone, and are lined with feasts for the senses, from the enormous fountains and sculptures, to the Prada and Valentino in the store windows….and the buildings are beyond exquisite. Just get lost in the city’s center and let it reveal itself to you. I feel so blessed to have been able to absorb some of the Italian vibe and bring it back to express and share through my work.
With all that said, I still look forward to being back in Franklin tonight, with my beautiful family, and sleeping in my cozy bed on Wimbledon Circle, because there is NO PLACE like home.
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