Friday, March 26, 2010

Raffaele, il barbiere ..the barber of Pinerolo

 It seems that I have stepped back in time whenever Fabrizio gets his hair cut in Pinerolo.  We always go to Fabrizio's barber, Raffaele, who has been cutting the hair of the men of Pinerolo and surrounding area for over 30 years. Fabrizio has been getting his haircut here since he was as a little boy and his Nonno Angelo brought him with him on the train and he could squirm around in one of the same three chairs this old world barber shop sports. Located in the central part of town under the grand porticos that shelters the entrance to some wonderful shops in Pinerolo, that's where you'll find this charming barber plying his trade. Always a pleasure to stop in for that feeling of nostalgia and friendly welcome and Fabrizio looks sharp afterwards, so a double treat.
 Not much has changed in all of that time. Raffaele has gone gray, and and Fabrizio still gets the same cut as his barber and the price has only slightly increased to €8 up from € 5 when I first came in with him about 8 years ago. He has new flooring in installed a couple of years back, which shows signs that he has spent a lot of time shuffling around in a semi circle as he clips, snips and trims his way through the steady line up of men  that usually crowd the shop. I always feel a certain coming home quality. One of my uncles had a barber shop not so very different from this one. His didn't have such dark lustrous wood but there was a certain mystery and fascination to this mens' gathering spot. the barber pole, the combs in glass jars, all rather intriguing. My Uncle Bob had a very dry sense of humor and was always cracking a joke. I loved visiting there. It just had a feel to it, comforting and yet foreign to me. When one of sons, my cousin Ron came to visit I took him there and he completely agreed with me about it reminding him if his dad's place. My cousin took several photos as well. Raffaele seemed rather amused, but proud too I think.
Upon entering Raffaele's place I am struck by it's low key quiet charm, that  makes me feel like I have entered a holy place. Usually, there is a clutch of men chatting or reading the paper or gossip magazines, yep, not all that different from a woman's hair salon. Today it is quiet, no waiting, just a trim and a chat. Catch up on what's going on in Pinerolo. He talks about retiring and heading back to the south from whence he came and I feel sad that this place might not be here anymore. He's tried to sell, but there's no one interested so far, in taking over the trade. What a shame if it goes away.  Another small treasure slipping away, but that is how it is sometimes. It is the small pleasures in life and the people along the way that you meet that keeps life interesting and varied. I'm glad Raffaele is still snipping away and hope he will be for many years to come.
Do you have any place like this that evokes some nostalgia, memory or tradition that you would just hate to see slip away? Tell me about it if you do, or just enjoy it while it's there to enjoy.
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