Annarita Bucefalo: The Simple Life

Story by David de Vries

Inside La Bottega delle Erbe, a mysterious mix of aromas fills the air. The traces of citrus, spice and floral notes have a calming effect.  Behind the counter is Annarita Bucefalo, who sells a whole range of “natural living” products—from meditation candles and fountains to health and nutrition products.

One of her regular clients walks in, looking for something to tackle some pesky laugh lines.  Anna shows her several different products, explaining how they work.  She recommends a new cream and offers some free samples, taking the time to demonstrate how to use the product.  They chat for a bit before her client leaves the store with a smile. 

With a degree in herbal techniques from the University of Urbino, Anna understands not only the plants from which her products are made but how they interact with the body.  That kind of know-how makes it easier for Anna to help her clients find just what they’re looking for.  “People come here with their health problems—emotional and physical,” Anna says. “I need to put them at ease and gain their confidence to give them choices.  Sometimes they are sad.  Sometimes I joke with them.  I have a little actress in me.  It helps.” 

When Anna was a young girl, she dreamed of being an actress.  She says she would imitate the performers she saw on television and create plays with her friends.  Her face lights up when the conversation turns to Italian film.  She loves the work of Anna Magnani, Vittorio Gassman and Federico Fellini.  Michelangelo Antonioni is another favorite.

“There used to be a cinema here in Cagli.  Now the nearest one is a 50- kilometer drive,” says Anna wistfully.  “As a child, I was shy and insecure.  But acting helped my confidence.  Acting comes naturally to me.  I feel no fear when I am on stage. I love playing in comedies.  But comedy—comedy is hard!”

She most recently appeared in a production of Luigi Pirandello’s theatrical production, “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” which she performed in the city of Pergola and at the Teatro Communale di Cagli

A life in the theatre is difficult, she says, adding that acting jobs are in short supply in the small theatres of the region.  Those that pay, pay very little.  To pursue a film career, she would need to move to Rome. But Anna never seriously considered becoming a professional actress.  “Theatre is my passion,” she says.  “But for me, it’s just a hobby.”

Anna makes her home in Cantiano, 10 kilometers down the road from Cagli, where she lives with her mother and father.  “I like the simple life,” she says quietly.  She favors organically grown food, and for years, meditation and Tai Chi have been part of her daily routine.  The natural products she recommends as an herbalist reflect her desire to share the simple life with others.  “Money isn’t the most important thing.  For me, it’s quality,” she says.

Anna is originally from Rome. As she recalls her life there, she says, “There are a lot of stressed-out people living in Rome.  But it’s hard for me to understand how people could be stressed-out in Cagli.  And yet they are.”

Another regular strolls in.  He comes to the counter with several questions.  The man is all business—polite but serious.  Anna listens to him intently.  She picks up a few items and puts them on the counter.  Anna waits patiently until he gathers his things and smiles as she bids him goodbye.  Her face turns serious as he disappears through the door.

“This gentleman is very particular,” Anna says. “After five years, I am beginning to know my customers.” 

Annarita Bucefalo in front of the Teatro dell' Opera

Annarita stands in front of the Teatro dell' Opera in Cagli.

[Click image for slideshow]