It is morning in Florence. A couple of minutes to eight and the weather is perfect. The first days of autumn in Florence are very generous with us; with the perfect ray of sunshine hitting some of the buildings on their sweet spot, revealing for an hour or so the secrets of their beauty, the footprint of a famous architect, and – even though these monuments of architecture, history and art, are well known and appreciated – the Fall weather alternating sun and rain, cold winds and warm afternoons. Every day I feel lucky to have had my own personal and professional story happening here in Florence!
It is eight o’clock. I open my store and laboratory.
There is another reason why I feel lucky. And this reason has nothing to do with seasons or change of weather and circumstances. Together with me, arriving at the same time, are also my workers; some would say employees, but I prefer colleagues, or maybe even fellows! They are young, with almost all of them being under 30 years old. I watch them entering the door, “Buongiorno, Signor Liverano” they greet me, and I think to myself “singore?” – why on earth would they call me “Signore”? Aren’t we all just working tailors, literally the same age?
Well, I am obviously aware of the decades that separate us, and honestly have no complaints about my age, my health and my luck in life. But one of the reasons I keep going on with so much energy, enthusiasm and grit, is the company I am with each and every day of the week. Sometimes I ask myself – how did I manage to gather around me so many talented and nice young people? Was it all luck? Is there something I did in a different way than other tailors that brought all of my fabulous guys and girls to use their passion, effort and – to be honest – most of their times, with me in my laboratory?
Maybe someday I will have the courage to ask them… Until now, I have been doing my best to teach and share with them everything I know. I remember my struggles to learn and to make a living at the same time, and I would like to make their experience a path for growth and not necessary a struggle. I wish for them to be patient and smart enough to learn and improve, on the one hand, and, on the other, to have the courage to challenge tradition and create their own voice. I would like them to be able to dream and dare, while never forgetting that our basic duty remains towards the thread and needle.
So even this evening, before I leave the store and head home, all of my fellows will pass through my working station to say “Buonasera, Signor Liverano”, and I will smile and remember myself, at their age. Yes! I am lucky! And after spending ten consecutive working hours in their youthful presence, I am happy again to get another look at my beloved city while driving back home. The light is different and is now laying in different angles on the buildings along the river; it is their turn to be caressed. I just hope that one of these million rays of sun, will find time to penetrate our daily work and strive for beauty. This is how we feel every day – blessed by the place we call home.