Every morning God paints Rome in a new color. It could be Della Robbia Blue, or Parma violet, and on a rare occasion it has bee Cardinal red. But on this morning, the first morning of Sally’s visit to Rome God chose Limoncello yellow.
Sally was up early, before the other girls of The Joplin Southern Baptist Women’s Tour group. She needed alone time, away from the women who keep asking if there was a MacDonald’s in Mantua or a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Venice. She peeked out the window of her hotel room in the Centro Storico as the last stroke of yellow splashed across the walls of the houses across Via Del Seminario.
She nearly skipped out the door onto the street she was so happy to be on her own at last. She turned right and walked past the early morning shuttered shop doors. The end of the street she stopped, the breath nearly sucked out of her lungs by the sudden beauty of the Piazza Della Rotunda. It spilled out before the Pantheon in ancient stony splendor, cool and imperial, yet strangely familiar and comforting. Weakened by its beauty Sally leaned against the buttery terracotta wall to take in the moment of magic to file away in her heart.
“Carriage lady?” The rich baritone tickled her ears and what stood before her awakened her eyes. He was next to his horse and carriage only a few feet away on the Via della Minerva. His curling chestnut hair peeking beneath his hat was kissed at the nape of his neck by the roman sun. Sally had never seen a more beautiful man. He patted the neck of his mare, “This is Sophia, and she thinks you are a very pretty lady.”
“No…thank you.” She whispered.
He cupped his right hand to his ear.
“Grazie, no…” She managed to call out to him as she hurried out into the piazza and scooted past his glittering smile. “No… I can’t afford you.” Her research before the trip had informed her of the exorbitant cost of a carriage ride in Rome.
“I am not so expensive!” He called after her. Sally looked over her shoulder. He winked at her. She whipped her head forwarded just in time to avoid walking into fountain in the center of the piazza. The heat of embarrassment mixed with a flighty excitement she had never felt before rose up her neck and flushed her cheeks.
Over the next few days when she walked onto the Piazza della Rotunda he was there. He would tip his hat; dazzle her to the bone with his smile and say, “Today you come with me?”
Once, one of the girls from The Joplin Southern Baptist Women’s Tour caught the look that passed between Sally and the carriage driver. She shot Sally a stern scowl. “Oh! These Italians are so….so…Italian!” That was the moment Sally decided to ditch the tour and stay on for a week by her self in Rome. Everyone disapproved strongly. One young girl who was fond of Sally broke into tears “I am worried for you. This place is dangerous.”
Sally smiled into her tear washed eyes, “I know…isn’t it marvelous?”
Very early on the morning after the tour flew off to America Sally walked into the deserted Piazza della Rotunda. He was not there waiting in the sun as he had been every morning before. Her stomach dropped so alarmingly that she suddenly felt old and foolish. She turned back the way she had come.
“Carriage Lady?” She had walked right past him without realizing it. He looked so different without his horse. He was dressed in a dark suit, sunglasses pushed up on the top of his head standing next to a Vespa looking like an Italian movie star from the 1960’s.
Sally stepped back and looked back down the Via del Seminario then back at him. She didn’t know what to do.
He held out his hand toward her. “Come, we have breakfast, then I show you Rome, my Rome.” He smiled beneath the Limoncello sky, his silk tie was Cardinal red and as Sally stepped toward him she realized she had never before seen eyes that were Della Robbia blue.
As their fingers entwined he said. “This is my Vespa, I call her Gina.”
Sally laughed. Rome felt like home.
Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza was created in 2010 as a flanker to the original Acqua di Parma Colonia that was launched in 1916 in the midst of World War I. The original, nearly a hundred years old is very beautiful, very classic and very Italian. Where as the deco bottle of the 1916 classic is clear glass to reveal a golden juice the bottle of Essenza in the same design but is rendered in opaque black glass with an elegant black and white label. It is as formal and stylish as a great Italian suit by Armani or a Brioni tuxedo. Masculine, romantic and filled with a history of glamour of the house that was a favorite of such stars as Cary Grant, Ava Gardner and David Niven Essenza does not disappoint. It is glorious, chic and supremely beautiful.
A bold Citrus Aromatic, it opens in summery warm notes of bergamot, lemon, mandarin, orange, grapefruit, petit grain, Neroli. These notes never fade but are built upon by the addition of the aromatic herbs of sage, rosemary and clove. These give the fragrance its classic barbershop center. And this barbershop is not a typical corner barber but a grand luxury barber such as you might find in the Excelsior hotel on the via Veneto in Rome.
In the center of the fragrance there is a small floral flourish of rose, jasmine and lily of the valley. These notes are very much in a supporting player mode and remain soft and comforting. Like the manicurist who does your nails while your face is wrapped in seaming towels before a shave. All is burnished to a rich beaten gold hue in the dry down by the arrival of amber, patchouli, musk and oakmoss. In essence, the soothing finish to a relaxing luxurious and very pampering shave.
For cologne it is surprising in its longevity lasting on my skin a good eight hours. The push out of the sillage is moderate after the initial spays that come on very strong. For me it was a love at first sniff and a real stand alone fragrance in the Acqua di Parma line. When I bought it I was actually on the hunt for a new incense heavy fragrance but when I was shown the line and sniffed Colonia Essenza my shopping itinerary changed and I decided to find out just what magic there is in this magnificent Italian house.
Sono innamorato di Roma e si sente nel mio cuore come tornare a casa.