Posts Tagged culture
It is said that the origins of are found with the Roman number for 17 which is XVII. Now if you take those same symbols and rearrange them to make the Latin phrase VIXI, it means “I have lived”, which can also be interpreted as “I am dead.” Not a pleasant thought… However some indications show that this number has had negative vibes even as far back as the Greeks.
In any case, throughout Italy you will find that they spend just a little bit more time making sure that there are no black cats around, that their good luck charms are nearby and that they avoid ladders, feathers and laying their hats on the bed.
As for us here at Pierotucci Leather Factory, we just keep a Fortunata Italian leather handbag by our side for the course of the day – and we are pretty sure we are warding off the evil eyes!
Italian folklore, like many other countries, puts the ladybug as a porta fortuna – or in other words the bearer of good luck. Most probably originating from the fact that it was “simpatico” (cute) with its red and black coloring but, since we know that many traditions usually originate out of some element of truth it is more likely that it has its origins in the important role it played in a healthy garden.
In Italy, when you buy a floral bouquet or little gifts (especially for children) they will attach a little ladybug (or ladybird) on to the package so that you are assured of good luck …. just like the Corno (or chili pepper) attached to the Fortunata Designer Handbag from Pierotucci.
Who wouldn’t want to have a little bit of good luck attached to their brand new leather wallet ? Can you find the coccinella or ladybug in the photo below?
Braccialini: Designer Ladies Wallets with a hint of Spring.
It appears the date varies quite a bit from the first day of Spring to the 10th of March, but in any case we are prepared! We have been watching the designer fashion shows in NYC, Paris and Milan and enjoying the display of leather and fur that is showing up everywhere for the FW 2013 fashions.
Tradition has it that Skirt Day is to not only celebrate the warm temps, sunny days and the fresh air but also to tempt and tease those men! But who said that Skirt Day was all about giving the guys a glimpse at what we ladies have been covering up for the last few snow days . . . with some of the designs out on this year, Skirt Day is just as much all about us and feeling sexy once more!
We have already seen several enchanting leather skirt designs that have our fingers itching for our credit card. Have a look at our preferred designer leather skirts:
The thick leather wouldn’t flow in a long skirt but it definitely looks sexy as a wrap around short skirt.
Both of these skirts have a stunning texture about them – the red with the contrasting color underside and the patent leather skirt in an orange – rust color.
Don’t know what exactly caught my eye first, the swirls of the short cut black leather skirt or the cross body messenger bag in a black leather with a monogram. Either way, they make the grade for National (leather) Skirt Day.
A little bit naughty and a lot bit nice, this black leather button up shirt is tucked into a black leather pencil skirt with a link lace on the edges.
This little skirt is definitely the thing that dreams are made of, maybe with a slick pair of high black boots.
Each handbag goes through 4 phases before it can be checked at quality control, and packed up for storage in the warehouse.
First the leather, lining and in this case the canvas accents needs to be cut. Secondly, all cut pieces of leather need to be sealed, pressed, punched with holes and sanded down. Third on the list is the accessories for each bag need to be counted out, this includes the zips, the straps, the snaps and handles. The last step is the assembly of the bag – starting from the inside out – each bag is composed by putting together first the lining, then the leather casing and finally all accessories and name plates.
In this photo you can see Marina working on the outer panels of the our Toscanella canvas and Italian leather tote with removable shoulder straps.
I never been one much into fashion myself – I come from Miami where all we really need to go out is a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, flip-flops and a 2 piece …. my experience certainly didn’t include Paris Fashion Week. After college, my next stop was Europe on a student budget – so once again, shopping at Milan Fashion Week was not high on my list.
This little fact never really bothered me or even put me into serious ridicule. My friends and cohorts were in the same situation as myself – we didn’t have the $$ to spend of fashion and we just didn’t keep up with the “Kardashians”.
However, after deciding to prolong my visit to Italy, my new environment (namely my ex-boyfriend) made it quite clear that my lack of knowledge (and my dismal fashion sense) were definitely a hindrance in our relationship.
Nothing made this ever so evident as when I was finally introduced to his “best friend.” It was a bit of a big ordeal, because his friend lived a couple hours away with his new wife and child. And since this was definitely going to be a grown-up evening I was eager to put my best American foot forward. I was prepared to highlight my playful nature and sense of humor.
It was a pleasant evening all the way around – nice people, good food (in Italy when do you not eat well?), stimulating conversation – tons of questions about the USA and the president (who at the time was Regan – I think) - and a few fun moments cuddling the baby.
As we are walking out the door to start our long trek home (thorough woods and over the hills) I made a “humorous” that has haunted me ever since. Teasing my then boyfriend, his wardrobe came up and I told his friends that they should try and convince him to spend a few dollars (the ones he saved not going to a restaurant but eating at their house) and change out his winter coat – to make my point, I showed them how the one he had on had all those little balls that aged wool gathers.
Three adult turned to stare at me as if I had just insulted the Pope himself…grown three heads….and turned a dramatic shade of purple …. all at the same time!
Perhaps I really should have known better. Critic an Italian about their fashion sense … and then wouldn’t you know it? The material that was used to make his coat was the prestigious panno Casentino, prized for the curling tufs of wool on the surface – the very same which I had attempted to ridicule.
It could be that since I was presently residing in the Casentino Valley, a small but very self sufficient area located approximately 45 km southeast of Florence they thought I would automatically know “la vita, morta e miracoli” of the area. For example maybe I should have known that the valley at one time was extremely famous for its wool production, in fact in the 1800′s the sheep count was 86,000 – more than triple the number of residents in this Italian valley. And … yes that’s right, maybe I should have known this was the birth place of the panno Casentino – a resistant and lightweight wool distinguished by these surface curls, the very thing that makes it water-resistant. Not only that, but maybe I should have known that it is well recognized among the Italians as a status symbol!
What I can say is that I now know all this (and so much more) - and even after 20 years, I have not forgotten that evening, the embarrassment and the many qualities of the panno Casentino.
In my attempts to tease this guy I wound up setting myself up to be the last laugh.
Santa Barbara, my home. A lovely place on the southern coast (although typically referred to as the central coast) of sunny California. This is where the sleigh bells will ring for me this Christmas. In less than 48 hours I will be California bound, driving down the famous highway 101 with the ocean breeze caressing my face, throwing me into a fit of pure joy.
It’s the best of both worlds really, splitting time between Florence, Italy and Santa Barbara. Florence with its old world charm, the romantic streets of cobble stone surrounded by rustic colors of terracotta and traditional green shutters lining every stone building. The family owned shops, trattorias, and cafes with their handmade leather goods, traditional local dishes, and their perfected cappucinos. And don’t forget the wine bars whose walls are lined with endless bottles of some of the best wine in the world.
Then, of course, there is Santa Barbara. A little corner of the world unlike any other. With its red tiled rooftops and beach town vibe, this city is as charming and mediterranean as they come. One of my favorite places for an absolutely one-of-a-kind and spectacular view of the city is from Stern’s wharf. It’s a view that’s breathtaking. Imagine sitting over the ocean, on the pier, eating a bowl of freshly made clam chowder soup with the salty breeze running through your hair. Out in one direction you see the vast, blue Pacific Ocean with boats, fishman, and very often the sight of dolphins and humpback whales. You take a glance in the opposite direction and you have the sandy coastline decorated in an endless abundance of palm trees that follow the boulevard, one right after the next. Beyond the immediate coast, the city is picturesquely set against a mountain range, ever so perfectly tucked away between the mountains and the water. Sounds great right?
Like Florence, Santa Barbara is a striking little town, much of which can be reached by bicycle. If you’re staying downtown having a bicycle is the perfect way to get around. There you’ll find the lively and picture perfect State Street, the main avenue for shopping, filled with boutiques, cafes, department stores, and a number of restaurants boasting all types of cuisine. I can’t resist a day of shopping with my coffee in hand strutting down State Street, especially with all the unique and lovely boutique shops there are to take advantage of. It also turns into the main area where all the night life can be found. Everything from your back door pub to your nightclub for dancing is either on or right around this street. And for those who like something a little more low key, you can always have a cocktail on one of Santa Barbara’s most scenic rooftop terraces.
I consider myself to be a very lucky girl! Now if only I could take these two worlds of mine and collide them into one, it would be in my idea of paradise. But for now, I’ll settle with one at a time. If you’re in Italy looking for a winter escape, Santa Barbara is the place for you. And I suppose, if perhaps you’re simply reading this from the East Coast or somewhere else with frosty winters, Santa Barbara is a wonderful, not to mention warm, winter escape. Otherwise, to all my Santa Barbarians, come venture to Florence and see what I mean about experiencing the very best of both worlds.
To everyone, warm wishes this holiday season from sunny Santa Barbara!
Né di venere né di marte, non si sposa né si parte; né si dà principio all’arte.
This traditional proverb translates to shouldn’t leave for anywhere, get married or start a work of art on Friday or Tuesday. Tuesday because it is named after the God of War Marte and Friday because legend has it that the evil spirits were created on this day.
Combine that with the number 17, which when viewed as the Roman numeral, XVII, it is then changed anagrammatically to VIXI, which in the Latin language it translates to “I have lived”, the perfect tense implying “My life is over.” History shows us the power of this phrase, following the executions of traitors the famous Roman leader, Cicero, is said to have declared “Vixerunt” (they have lived), the archaic formula intended to ward off ill fortune in such circumstances.
Combine these two elements and you have the equivalent to Friday the 13th in most other parts of the world.
Our solution – why of course a little FORTUNATA! What’s in the name Fortunata? Fortunata means lucky in Italian. In Italy the “corno” (aka the red hot chilli pepper) is supposed to assure the owner of warding off evil and blessing each event with a lucky flair. Pierotucci has created a line of handbags that carries FORTUNATA as its name and but of course, the lucky corno has been incorporated into the bag!
When my Italian friends hear that I am from Miami, they always ask – well what are you doing here? As if to them it were a no brain-er – Florida equals sun and fun equals beach and relax. But we all know that when you “live” somewhere – and that somewhere is also where you work – then you have a tendency to skip over all the fun, sun, beaches and relax. I love Florida with its unique environment between the ocean, the gulf, the swamp, hammocks and everglades. I do miss getting up in the morning and not having to reach for a bathrobe because you will freeze your bum off with the first step out of bed and I miss eating all that good fresh fish. I happened to catch a glace of this video and it just brought it all back.
It’s the same thing with all the Italians that live here in Florence Italy – they have these wonderful landscapes, beautiful artwork, great food and even better wine. So when I tell some one that I live and work in Florence, Tuscany and they say lucky you, (as an expat transplanted here) I just agree with them. I feel very lucky to be living here. In fact every time I go over the Arno river and get a quick glimpse of the Palazzo Signoria and Ponte Vecchio, I am reminded of how god it feels to be living here.
Ancient Greek and Roman mythology appears to give us only a muse for music and her name was Euterpe, one of 7 sisters who were proclaimed to inspire. While describing the newest consignment of Carnelian shell cameos my research pulled up that the enticing figure in this 4 cm oval shaped pendant framed in 18K gold could only be a muse, since the only deity of music was Apollo – a man ! THE MOUSAI (Muses) were the goddesses of music, song and dance, and the source of inspiration to poets. Pierino Neri, the artist who carved this particular cameo, choose to use the contours of the shell and hand carve a lyre by her side instead of the more commonly found double flute.
The Bull mouth or Red Helmet sea shell, also known as the carnelian shell, were discovered to have layers of strongly contrasting colors and the shells were large enough to be perfect for carving cameos making them ideal for carving into cameos. The vivid colors and contours of the shell become are both the objective and the challenge that each artist is confronted with as they decide what image and how to portray it.
Our Eutrepe has fine details in her hair, the laurel wreath encircling her head and the folds of the gown. It is quite impressive how the artists creates an entire story of time, beauty and depth while portraying only one element.
This is the time that the real child comes out in the Italians – a playful holiday where the children run and hide and the adults walk around calling each other “Befana’s” or old witches .
The 6th of January is stockings that are full of goodies from oranges, candies, potatoes, garlic and carbon coal. For many of the older generation, especially after the war, memories of the Befana are more strongly embedded than those of Babbo Natale a/k/a Santa Claus because this was when the real gift came – trucks and dolls, and it was Santa that brought the sweets and carbon coal.
We are Pierotucci Leather Factory wish everyone a very happy Befana day !!
check out this site for even more info on the Befana.