I was in Lucca, Italy in November, 2016. It was a business trip but it is such a lovely place I spent many hours wandering its streets. I wanted to see as much of it as I could in the short time I was there and I had a specific item I wanted to take home. I wanted a fedora. I wanted a fedora made in Italy that I purchased in Italy. It was more difficult than I expected.
Lucca is full of shops. If you’re a stylish woman, or buying for a stylish woman, you will find whatever you need. Each shop seemed to have a specialty: dresses, shoes, leather, cashmere, perfumes, etc. It seemed that if you were looking for casual wear, you could find it easily. There were jewelers. There were stores selling Pinocchios. All flavors of gelato were being vended and I could have cappuccino and pizza on every street. It took me six days, however, to find a store selling men’s hats.
I finally found it at Santi Guerrieri (here’s the address in case you decide you need one of these: 11 Corte Portici, Lucca). I found the store on a Saturday afternoon around 3:15 p.m. There was a new, small problem. The shopping and dining habits in the little town of Lucca were much different than my own. I was usually ready to eat an evening meal by 7 p.m. Restaurants were usually closed at that time. The restaurants were waiting for 8 or maybe 9 o’clock to open. I’m in bed by 9 o’clock, for crying out loud. Saturday afternoon shopping between 1 and 4 o’clock is difficult unless it’s window shopping. That’s what I found myself doing at 3:15 p.m. I was window shopping. The store was closed.
I remained in the area of Santi Guerrieri. It opened around 4 p.m. I was greeted with a friendly “Buongiorno” by the middle-aged lady at the front counter. I responded with my customary “Good afternoon!” The sales lady’s posture sagged. I said, “Men’s hats?” She pointed to her right and I walked down through the shop. I arrived in the department she had indicated to find baseball caps, stocking caps and other casual headwear. I turned to ask for more assistance and directly behind me was a lovely young woman sales clerk. She asked me in English if she could help.
We returned to the front of the store where she showed me shelves of fedoras. There were Stetsons (I think cowboys hats when I think of Stetson) and there were Panizzas. Panizza hats are crafted in Montevarchi, Tuscany. Montevarchi is only a couple of hours drive from Lucca and the hats are reputed to be among the best. Perfect! Now to try them on and to check the prices (pretty pricey!). The store wasn’t busy and I was thoroughly enjoying the attention of the young woman assisting me. After some time, I decided on the one in the photo above. As we walked to the counter to finalize the transaction, she asked if I were famous. That caught me totally off guard. She insisted she had met me before and I had purchased another hat from her a year before. She was adamant but I had no idea with whom she could be confusing me. Eventually she came up with the name.
There must be some way I can put this resemblance to use. Do you think Spielberg will mind?
By the way. I am ‘famous’. That’s my name. Rodney means famous!