Leather and Love

by Claire Rainey

The rich smell of leather fills the room. Light glimmers off the black leather shoe being polished, and with one last sweeping motion of his hand, Federico finishes the shoe and sets it down in front of min. He inspects his work. After deeming it finished, he looks over his shoulder with a gentle smile on his face. Behind him, Hannah works on a leather wallet. Sensing his presence, she looks, her face melting to meet his smile.

Federico and Hannah Badia met while she was studying abroad for her third time in August 2011. Hannah was born and raised in Ohio, by Federico lived in Rome, Italy before moving to Orvieto. Although coming from opposite sides of the world living very different lives, the two pair together seamlessly.

A small cry breaks the silence as their young son Sebastian wakes up from his nap. Hannah goes to his side to comfort him, scooping him up and plugging in a pacifier, immediately stopping the bubbling baby. She gently soothes him before going back to the wallet. They have grown accustomed to the rhythm of working while taking care of Sebastian. Their movements are soft and quiet, as they try not to wake him again.

Their shop is small, and the comforting smell of leather welcomes customers as they enter through the arched doorway. A man enters the shop and looks at the handmade leather items lining the walls. he walks slowly and carefully, examining every item. He admires them, picking up a grey wallet. To look at them, one wouldn’t guess Hannah hadn’t worked with leather until being taught by her husband.

Before moving to Italy, she had never worked with leather before. Through her time learning and working alongside Federico, she learned her love for leather and happily works with it every day. He learned by working part time in a shop in Rome and playing around making small items such as wallets or belts. After a couple of years of working there he discovered his love for making shoes. He has been making them ever since.

Although his future is unclear, the pair knows they want to stay in Orvieto until Federico retires. They agree they want to raise their son in Orvieto so he can experience the town. “Then Bermuda,” he says. Hannah widens her eyes and erupts in laughter. they know it isn’t likely, but agree it is always good to dream.