Passion Points: Escape
At the end of 2010, we quizzed members, contributors and staff about their favorite discoveries this year. Read more Best-of-2010 Interviews.
By Cristina Ferraro Cenci, co-owner of fashion line Josephine & Laurentina
What was your favorite trip this year and why?
My favorite trip this year was an unexpected one. It was supposed to be a short, three-day trip to the American South for my fashion label Josephine & Laurentina. My business partner, Leslie Johnson, and I were going to fly to Memphis; then driving to Nashville; then Oxford, Mississippi; and finally on to Jackson, Mississippi. Thanks to the fact that I was traveling with Lelise, who was born and raised in Mississippi, this quick trip turned out to be an incredibly touching learning experience.
The cities I visited were extremely welcoming. The pace was different and you felt it; each city had its own rhythm, much of it in sync with its music, which is a big thing in the South. The drive through these states was spectacular; the nature superb and incredibly versatile. Sunny open plains are suddenly interrupted by wild and rugged landscapes. Oxford was probably the biggest surprise. It’s a charmer of a small city with a long tradition and vibrant culture. I loved the old bookstore that overlooks the city square, owned by a gentleman who was once the mayor and who still invites famous writers from all over the world (including, I found out, from my home country, Italy).
And the food! Everything we sampled was excellent, from the unbeatable pimento cheese sandwich from Picnick, in Nashville, to the very Southern shrimp and grits at the casually elegant City Grocery, in Oxford’s main square. Stories of alligators and crocodiles living in people’s backyards kept me fully entertained along the way, as did the fun country music playing on seemingly every radio station. I had heard that once you discover the South, it takes hold of you. Since I was a little kid, I’d thought that no place would capture my imagination as much as Italy, but this recent road trip proved to me yet again what a powerful thing it is to have one’s concept of the world extended.”
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