The shoe factories that originally drew thousands of immigrants from across Europe have long moved on.
What remains are the distinct ethnic flavors of a gritty community determined to overcome economic woes, adapt to the rapid changes in society and find true meaning in life.
Consider these stories as pages ripped from a sketchbook. Some are quick studies; others are more detailed portraits inspired by observed characters, whispered gossip, overheard conversations and the local lore of the residents whose neighborhoods are framed by the gilded Orthodox Church domes that span this valley.
You'll find that each tale has its own tone: some are humorous or poignant, others are surprising and haunting.