“Fellini doesn’t make those things up,” my friend Dali had told me in advance of our trip, my introduction to Italy. On our very first day there, within minutes of our arrival in Rome, we encountered this mad scene. A Japanese film crew shooting a television commercial with singing nuns, sidecar motorcyclists, baroque fountains and a “peppy” soundtrack to set the mood. Later in the day, we came upon a fashion shoot outside Bulgari on ultra-fashionable Via dei Condotti, a bit tamer (but not much), featuring platinum blonde models covered in cosmetics and jewels. Four years later, when I was visiting Fellini’s hometown of Rimini, not only did I visit the bakery run by his family, but I was also awakened from a mid-autumn afternoon nap as a small marching band appeared out of nowhere and made its way through the piazza beneath my window. When I asked the locals what the occasion was, they all gave me the same answer: a open-palmed shrug. Watch the maestro’s Amarcord again. It’s set in Rimini. You’ll understand.