Long ago, when I was part of an international Mail Art exchange, my posts crossed paths with those of Antonio, a stranger to me then in Lucca. So when I was planning my first extended solo trip to Italy, he and I made sure we met. I arrived by train, Antonio took me to his family’s home, and later, introduced me to his girlfriend Roberta at the restaurant you see here. I wish I could remember the location or what we ate, but those memories are all overwhelmed by this one. The owner, for reasons only he can fathom, came out dressed as a woman (fully made up, wig, padded bra) and chatted with all the customers. No one batted an eye. One lunchtime at Antonio’s parents’ table, we were watching an Italian TV variety show (hosted, I think, by Fellini star Sandra Milo) and a man came out holding a flute, backed by a full orchestra. When the time came in the piece for the flutist’s entrance, the man played it fiercely. With his nose! Again, no one batted an eye. But I was astonished and started to giggle. Antonio’s family looked at me as if I were the strange one. And, under the circumstances, I may have been.