The salon in the heart of town of Norma, northern Italy, is the perfect place for a holiday-makers’ holiday.
Its name, it’s not, it doesn’t sound like it, but it does.
The shop is a favourite among locals, and is well known for its fresh-faced young men, who are eager to meet new friends, drink and chat.
On any given day the young men of Normas salon will arrive at 11am.
In fact, the majority of the time it’s open until 5pm.
The reason for this is simple: Normas is a family business.
It’s been around for generations, but has always been run by a single mother who is passionate about making her business unique.
In the past, when the salon was not a family affair, there was only one person who was there to make sure it was run properly.
She has been doing that since 1977.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years.
That’s when my sister, Maria, and I started the salon,” Maria explains.
“My sister is a big beauty aficionado, and has always wanted to do something special for her clients.
And I was always a beauty aficianado too.
So, I decided that I wanted to create something special, and so I started doing things that are unique and unique for me.”
“I want to change everything, I want to create the world’s first salon that’s truly unique, that’s really unique for my customers, that is truly different,” Maria says.
“That’s why I’m doing this job.
It is a privilege to be here.”
Maria was born in Florence in 1943, and was raised in the small town of Bologna.
Her father worked in the textile industry and she was raised on the family farm, where she would play with the cows and take part in her father’s knitting projects.
In 1978, Maria started working in the local beauty salon.
“It was a very different time.
The salon was very much a family and we had a very tight group.
I loved the shop.
It was very relaxed.
And it was a big, beautiful shop.
I felt like I belonged here,” Maria remembers.
“There was so much beauty in it.
I could really see the skin and the hair.
So I decided to create my own little salon, and since then I’ve worked hard to make it as good as it can be.”
After a year, Maria was approached by the owner of the shop, a woman named Francesco.
“When I was asked to do the work, I knew immediately that this was the place for me.
I said yes, and now I’m here,” she recalls.
“When I started, I didn’t think about my work, because it was so new and it wasn’t something I’d done in a long time.
But, after three years, I began to realise that I had something special here.
So when Francesco came to work, the owner was really impressed with me.
And he also liked me.
So he asked me if I’d do a special job, and of course I said that, and he said I’ll do it for you,” Maria continues.
“He started a process of working with me, and then after three months, I started working with Francesco, who is very nice and very patient with me,” she says.
As soon as Maria was done with her first job, she wanted to take on another one.
“And I thought I had done enough.
So after three weeks, I got the job, which was my first time in a salon, a family salon.
So it was very, very special,” Maria tells us.
It was an emotional day.
When Maria was asked if she wanted her first day as a professional, she responded in the affirmative.
“Maria, you’ve always done something special,” Francesco said to her.
“You’ve always been here and done something, Maria.
So you’re going to do it.”
“And then I got a phone call,” she remembers.
Francesco went to the salon and met Maria, who was standing in front of the mirror, with a smile on her face.
She looked at her and said: “I’m so proud of you, Maria!”
Francesco also asked Maria if she had a special hair style.
She said: “I have a very curly style, so I want you to try it on.”
When the receptionist went to work with Maria, she noticed that her hair was shorter than usual.
“This was very strange.
I was very surprised,” Maria recalls.
“The staff were really patient and kind, so it didn’t take too long to get used to this hairstyle. “
But that was fine, because I knew that the salon had an excellent atmosphere, which made it so natural,” Maria continued.
“The staff were really patient and kind, so it didn’t take too long to get used to this hairstyle.
But there were a