After all of the hiking, walking, sightseeing, swimming, etc. chances are you want to take some time to relax and allow your body and mind to recover, which may mean going to a salon to alleviate the soreness or stickiness and feel refreshed. Or maybe you’re just like me and you want simply to have your hair done rather than do it yourself.
Getting your hair done in a foreign country maybe foreign to you. I did get my hair done in England one time by the hands of an Irishman who said my accent reminded him of Britney Spears (insert surprised emoticon here). But, getting it done in Italy was quite a different experience being as Italians often do not speak English. That being said it might seem risky to do so, but in my opinion it always is no matter the country you’re in. Also, this is Italy which is the country encompassed by style, fashion and beauty. So, a little knowledge on the language and how it’s done you should feel confident about going through with it.
“La Bella Figura”
When in Rome, and anywhere else in Italy, you want to look good. Why? “La Bella Figura.” A phrase which literally translates to a beautiful figure and means quite a lot to Italians. It’s a philosophy, if you will, that dates back hundreds of years ago and has yet to die out or fade in the least. In terms of clothing, if you think what you’re wearing is trendy it probably isn’t unless you spot an Italian wearing it. Maybe it’s because Milan is the fashion capital of the world or maybe Italians are just that good. It’s a mystery. But what is known is how much Italians love, love, love style in general. From their heads to their toes they look good. And it’s more than a fashion statement that Italians are trying to make; it is a statement about themselves. It is sometimes considered the core ideal of Italian culture; some refer to it as the Italian psyche. No joke there are books written about it. What it’s really all about is being presentable and not just looking, but behaving in an attractive fashion.
Some other links on the topic:
Where to go?
“La Bella Figura” starts in the salon. I went to a salon that comes highly recommended by local whose opinion I trusted. Moda & Tecnica By Antonio is a salon nestled in nearby the train station in Arezzo, Italy. My experience there was comparable to getting your nails done in the US. Allow me to explain: I know only a small amount of the Italian language and they know the same amount maybe even less English. I felt intimidated even though I did bring my translation book for reinforcement. Luckily, I am gesticulative which was my saving grace keeping me from picking up my book every time I was asked a question. I resorted to the real heart of the Italian language: gestures. You do want to show rather than tell your stylist how much when it comes to getting your haircut. Remember that they use the metric system, and even if you do have your conversions down pat I would still show your stylish what you expect to be on the safe side.
With that said you do need to know some key words:
- Parrucchiere (pa-roo-cah-ray): Stylist for women
- Barbiere (ba-bar-ray): Barber
- Taglio di capelli (Ta-glee-oo dee ca-pel-ee): Haircut
- Pettinatura (pet-en-na-tor-ah): Hairdo
- Lungo (loon-go): Long
- Corto (cor-to): Short
- La riga (re-ga): Hair part (they will ask how your hair parted)
- La frangia (fran-ga): Fringe or Bangs
- Lisci (lee-see): Straighten
- Riccioli (ree-so-lee): Curls
- Lavare (la-var-a): Wash
- Peiga (pe-ga): Blow-dry
The Whole Experience
When walking into the salon you want to greet the stylists by saying “Ciao” (Chow) or “Hello” just like you would walking into any other business. “Ho un appuntamento” (ho oon a-pun-to-men-to) or “I have appointment” is the next thing you would say since it is often required in Italian salons to have one otherwise you should definitely expect a long wait if you’re waited on at all. Also, keep in mind that most salons are closed on Mondays.
Like I said I have yet to become proficient in speaking or understanding Italian and this was obvious during my appointment, but my stylist didn’t hold a grudge against me for my lack of communication skills especially because I did try. So, my experience at the Italian salon was not affected by the language barrier, in fact it was equally as good as my experiences at other good salons. I suppose if I had been more adventurous and asked the stylist “Che cosa mi consiglia” (kay co-sa me con-se-gla-ray) or “What would you recommend” it might have been a little different. Overall it was enjoyable and just what I needed and before I knew it I was out in an hour with a fresh, sleek head of hair.
Show Some Love
Italian culture is all about expression. Italians are not the type of people to hide what they’re really feeling or thinking. Even if you don’t know exactly what they’re saying you can tell how they are feeling. They expect this kind of personality to come from you as well, so if you like the work they did let them know! This doesn’t necessarily mean leaving a tip, although I did, it just means you should say “Mi Sta Bene” (me sta ben-e) or “I look good!” You could also say “Mi Piace” (Me Py-a-se) or “I love it.” And lastly, if anything, definitely always say “Grazie” (Gra-zee-e) or “Thank you!”
So I say you should have no worries about getting your hair done in Italy. Embrace the beauty of Italy and feel just as beautiful and enjoy yourself! Ciao!