Our lady in Italy has embraced the Tuscan countryside, but can she find a decent hairdresser?
All my adult life I’ve dreamed of living in the Italian countryside….
Five months ago I moved from a life where coffee shops, beauty salons and gyms were all within walking distance, to a house on a hillside in rural Tuscany, where the nearest shop of any description is a 15 minute drive.
I knew I could live without the waxing, the gym (I have stunning running routes right outside my front door), Waitrose just round the corner…. And although Italy may be the birthplace of the barrista there’s no ‘just’ nipping out for a café macchiato every morning.
I wasn’t too worried about the serious stuff either. Having experienced Italian A&E with a histrionic seven year old on holiday one year, I felt confident about the healthcare system.
The one thing that did make me fret though – would I be able to find a decent hairdresser.
My untreated hair is an unappealing shade of salt and pepper, and having spent years trying various salons and brands of hair colour I’d finally got it right.
I managed to track down an Aveda salon, conveniently located by the station in our nearest city of La Spezia and embarked on a new hair relationship.
Stefania, the colourist at Redstyle is a fan of all things English, in particular rock music, and is delighted to have a regular client from the UK.
‘Is that Rooot?’ she positively shouts when I ring up to book my appointment.
I’d been worried that my explanations of what I wanted wouldn’t make sense.
Did the dictionary word for highlights – mechies – mean highlights in your hair? My UK hairdresser had written out the colour mix she’d used – would Stefania understand it?
However, with typical Italian positivity, she and husband Danielle who does the cutting, listen patiently to my explanations and we get there in the end.
While my colour is applied we enjoy the usual hairdresser-client chat – the weather, how are the children doing? Stefania already remembers the names and ages of my children and where they work/study.
She’s worried that her own daughter will speak English with an American accent because her teacher is from the US.
Then I’m offered tea/coffee – and a whole array of sweets and biscuits.
Stefania explains to me (in Italian) the flavours of all the chocolates. The last one is chilli – ‘Red Hot Chillee Peppers’ she booms in English.
After an hour reading about the world’s most papparazied women (the Italians have a verb – to paparazzy) Kate and Pippa in the Italian equivalent of Hello, my hair is washed with familiarly scented shampoo and Daniele takes over.
He is much quieter than Stefania, who chats to me about other clients with English relatives while he works. His scissors positively fly and I have no idea how he can tell what he’s doing. But 20 minutes and a blow dry later, it looks – immaculate.
With effusive goodbyes I depart to the station – and breathe a sigh of relief that there will be no bad hair days for the next month.