Siena and the Perfect Italian Shoe

I went to Siena last night for the first time since we arrived in Tuscany, and each moment I enter this city I examine it, like the study of a new lover, my eyes rolling over every curve and every angle with wonder: “are you for me?” The length of the arm from the shoulder, the weight of the hands and their gesture, the cut of the fingernails, the posture of the back, the openings, the closures – “what is truly hidden behind all those impassable entrances?”

And I feel inept to describe it – walking through a medieval city and staring down the tunnels of its den like gazing into the depths of another’s eyes; zipping across cobblestone paths; gaping at the fragmented light elapsing through apertures between ancient buildings erected in different centuries, centuries ago.

And amidst all the intensity, all the imagination of time travel, the awe of the many lovers who strolled beneath a similar moon with similar hearts and such different stories to tell . . . amidst the glitter of romance and discovering a sense of immersion within the unfamiliar . . . amidst all of this . . . truly. . . I just wanted a new pair of Italian shoes.

And this was a matter of great laughter for Massi, and his brother and I last night as we rambled together under vestiges of rain, from store to store, cackling at my ridiculous yearning for the perfect black Italian shoe.

In the end, without finding any such shoes, we went to the Prosciutteria and climbed down a vertical of stairs into a dungeon most likely procured from the Roman era. It was maybe 5pm and already dark. Massi picked out a Crémant de Loire, a gentle and friendly sparkling of chenin and chardonnay, that made our hearts grin while we sat and waited for the main spectacle.  The prosciutto, aged 36 months and hand sliced on its own wooden slab, melted into a chewy cream with one bite and I felt grateful, more than anything because I wasn’t born into this, in fear that I might not feel the same intensity I feel experiencing the beauty and the marvel of this spectacular ancient city and culture.

Jordana GiovannoniComment