I remember the day distinctly. A friend and I were wandering through the ancient alleyways of Rome’s old Trastevere district when we happened upon a tiny, old shop. Our eager smiles faded when we realized the shop was closed. Even in busy Rome, most shops are closed all afternoon so Italians can enjoy a relaxing meal and a nap before returning to work.

The shop was very dark inside. We glued our our faces against the shop windows in an effort to peer past the reflection and glimpse the enchanting merchandise inside. I gasped when I saw the gorgeous Italian linens behind the glass. We pointed and whispered to each other, “Look at the linens on that shelf…and stacked on that table!”  Well, there was nothing to do but jot down the name of the alley and hope we could find the shop again.

The next day was our last in Rome. We decided we simply HAD to find that shop before we left the Eternal City. Of course, this was not going to prove easy. The alley was too tiny to be included on our street map, and all the alleys started to look the same as we tried one after another. But with the help of a strong espresso, we persevered and finally found our shop!

The gentle shop owner welcomed us inside and assisted us as we explored her vast selection of gorgeous Italian linens. It was amazing. The beautiful colors of the Umbrian landscape and sky were woven into such elegant Italian designs. The rich woven linen had such depth. When I held the fabric in my hand, it seemed to reflect the light and display its own natural iridescence. After much fun deliberation, we finally made our selections and bid the kind senora “Arrivederci!”

Yes, it was love at first sight. The timeless linens of Tessitura Pardi, beautifully loomed in the province of Umbria, were destined to come home with me to Ann Marie’s.