November 1, 2013
Today we celebrate saints. The whole nation is on holiday.
For the first time there’s the faintest whiff of fall in the bright blue air.
Sheets flap from every balcony. (On holidays and Sundays electricity is practically free in Italy. So everyone’s done the washing.)
It was a good morning for bumping into amici. I found Salvatore, a 95-year old friend, in a cafe on the piazza. He told me war stories. How his ship was torpedoed. How he was taken prisoner by the British and marched through the Algerian desert without water. How, in his prison camp in Liverpool, the British girls went wild for him. (“They didn’t care for the Romans, Tuscans, or Neapolitans–only Sicilians.”)
I greeted the furniture restorer, the ice cream maker, the baker. I found my friend Sara at the gardens, and she saw her friend Salvo, an artist who took us to his studio, stuffed with a thousand paintings of the Sicilian countryside.
A perfect morning in Sicily.
Tomorrow, November 2, we celebrate departed souls (All Soul’s Day). Children will hunt around the house for gifts left by dead relatives, the cemeteries will be full, and we’ll devour cookies called Bones of the Dead.