While walking through central Rome today, we came across a sign on a building that made us curious. With what little Italian we had , we could only ascertain that it had something to do with the Nazis of World War II. In an effort to learn the translation of the sign, we went into a little clothing store beneath the sign to ask some questions. To our surprise, the owners of the shop, Alberto and Serena Valentini, were as interesting as the object that originally caught our attention. Alberto, who happens to look like a younger Albert Einstein ( even though he admits to being 70 years old, and who's birthday happens to be very close to Lorraine's) is known as a world renowned tailor whose " ...flamboyant looks and surreal creativity..." has had him dubbed the "Salvador Dali of the tie" (the item that helped to make him famous). Alberto's claim to fame has been his ability to take vintage fabrics from the 1920's through to the 1960's and make unique ties and suit coats out of them. He is very proud of his handiwork, even displaying in his shop a picture of him presenting the Pope one of his hand-made leather coats. During our discussions, we learned that Serena and Alberto were married the same year that we were, only 8 months after us. They were extremely gracious hosts, spending well over a half-hour talking about our families and our work. It was a delightful break in our routine.
The shop is located right along the Tiber river almost directly opposite the Palace of Justice.
Alberto and Serena in their shop.
Some of the clothing that Alberto created and tailored.
This is the sign that started this little mini-adventure. Apparently on March 23rd, 1944 several German soldiers came across ten young Italian boys sitting on the doorsteps of this little street and inexplicably shot them all. This sign was created a year and a half later and hung on this wall to commemorate this event.