So, here’s the thing. This summer I’ve spotted a new trend. Chinese parasols.
You read me right. I said: Chinese. Parasols. Basically a larger version of the paper thingies that come in your tropical cocktail.
Don’t ask me to explain the trends, I just report ’em.
So this summer, in lieu of the ubiquitous bubble guns and red-eyed pscyho cats (please see #2), our street vendor friends have changed their inventory and substituted aforementioned useless items with highly practical (except when it rains) florescent-colored Chinese paper umbrellas. And the tourists are buying them up. And using them.
BOH. (If you’re just joining us, this slang term means “who knows” in Italian, and I use it all the time. You should too.)
Anyhoo, so where was I? Oh yes, parasols. I’m thinking, personally, I can’t be bothered to walk around holding a paper umbrella to protect my delicate skin from the sun. I much prefer what I think is an easier solution, and doesn’t require any florescent colors. Hats.
Not to be confused with capelli (note: one p), which means hair. See, I don’t get along with double consonants AT ALL in the Italian language, which is why I have been known to call cream “pana” (something that doesn’t exist) and known to call penne pasta “pene,” something which certainly DOES exist, albeit not in a restaurant dish, pleaseconsultyourItaliandictionarybecauseI’mnotgoingtotypeitonmyG-ratedblog.
Hats are an essential item for me in the Roman summer sun. Remember my trip to Amarena Chic last year?
Well, this year I upgraded. I went to an ACTUAL HAT SHOP. On Viale Trastevere there’s this hat shop that I’ve always been so intrigued by, and finally I just took the plunge and went in to ask about a hat in the window.
The sweetest lady in the world runs the shop. (What? You didn’t know that’s an official title? Sweetest Lady in the World? She works at this shop, I’m telling you.) She explained to me that her father-in-law ran the shop starting back in 1920-something—I forget the exact year; please, forgive me, I know not what I do. They sell Borsalino hats, which are so incredibly vintage and wonderful.
I asked about said hat in window and the sweetest lady in the world asked me what size hat I wear.
What size hat?
Since she is the SLITW, she helped me out by asking, “Well honey, what size does your dad wear? Usually kids wear the same size as their dads.”
Um, my dad? A hat? Not exactly. It would have fallen off while he was parachuting, piloting, running off to work in the Middle East, or some other such nonsense (currently in Kabul, hi dad, please come home in August as promised).
“Ok, well then, let’s try this. 57. It’s a medium size.”
Perfect. 57 it is. As in the Three Little Bears. Not too big, not too small. Just right.
I found an article here that talks about the shop, called Gagliardi e Mari, and revealing that the SLITW’s name is actually Adolfa, and her daughter Velia helps out. Not only is it a hat shop but they also have an entire hat repair hospital of sorts, where you can have your hat washed, ironed, re-shaped, and basically put back good as new. Now tell me, do you know of a shop where you can have this done? I love Rome for these things.
I got to prance around Rome for like two weeks with my new size 57 hat from Signora Adolfa before my total clutziness took over and I got this incredible black ink stain on the hat. Don’t ask me how it happened. It just did. The hat was sitting on the dining room table, the pen jumped it, and the rest is history. I was born with the clutzy gene, I accept it as in: “Dear God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” I am serene. Note the half-moon shaped scar around my eye. I got into a fight with the corner of a table in 11th grade and, obviously, nine stitches later, lost. The Navy hospital doctor, as he stitched my eye up, said, “Well, there goes your modeling career….har-de-har-har.” Not so fast, buddy! Little did you know that 15 years later I would have a blog! MUUUUHAHAHAHAHA!
Am I so very retro in my new hat? Despite the big black ink stain which I tried to conceal here?
So, that’s when I found out that Alessandro’s grandfather used to buy hats from the SAME store. What? Well thanks for telling me! And so, Nonno Vincenzo had given a hat to Ale and he never wore it. Double what?? So I said, pass that baby down to me, would you please?
Turns out, Nonno Vincenzo was a 56.
The realization is that I have a bigger head than my son’s great-grandfather. Oh my.
Little Vincenzo decided he needed to get in on this action (he is oh-so “please mommy don’t forget that I am the center of the universe therefore you must include me in everything you do”) so in honor of Bis-nonno Vincenzo, we tried to do a mini photo shoot with “the hat.”
How does this thing work??
Yes, people. This is the face that makes him smile. If you see me around, this is probably the expression I will have. There is no shame here. I have a five-month old.
Folks, if you find yourself in Trastevere and in need of a hat (and who isn’t in need of a hat, honestly?), I highly recommend you go see the sweetest lady in the world. She doesn’t even have a credit card machine (“too much of that new-fangled technology…” Ok. She didn’t really say “new-fangled.” I don’t even know how you’d say “new-fangled” in Italian. But I’m sure that’s what she meant.) But there’s an ATM right next door so you should be fine.
GAGLIARDI E MARI, viale Trastevere 109, tel. 06.58333206