My colleagues and I were having a meeting and I might as well have been talking to myself. A curly white wig and a gavel to pound out ‘order in the court’ would have been the only way to get everyone listening to the right thing at the same time. In reality, though, the issue was quite simple. The Florentine is on the verge of becoming a toddler and its parents were discussing what to do about the terrible two’s. In other words, we were trying to plan a party.
‘Plan’ is a very big word, of course. Throwing a shindig in Italy, they tell me, is more complicated than it is anywhere else in the world. If the authorities actually grant their permission, you need a stamp on everything but the toilet paper. For real fun and live entertainment, you’ve got to pay a series of obscure ‘party taxes’ in favour of commercial associations whose initials stand for B.O.T.H.E.R. And in Florence, if you want more than a half of slice of prosciutto per person, you have to be ready to really shell out the shillings. Luckily for all of us, there is a bright side—and our bright side was sitting to my left. His name is Marco Badiani.
Marco keeps the accounts and deals with decimals, but the man has a trait I truly appreciate: he falls in love with ideas quickly and courts them with an enthusiasm that is rare in any country. And he’ll always let you describe dreams in full—before he bugs you with why they won’t work. As our ‘magari man’ he knows how to savour the apple before even planting the seed.