The Phenomenon of the ‘Dinner in White’

It seems that all over Italy there are glamorous picnics being organised for balmy summer evenings where everyone wears white and brings food to share. (Nobody explained why it has to be a cena in bianco -dinner in white.) But this is no ordinary picnic. You book in advance because the local community provides tables and chairs (and even sprays the park so that there are no mosquitos) and people bring tablecloths, napkins, different glasses for different wines, candelabras, best china plates, cushions, a vase of flowers as a table decoration, ┬ábaskets of fruit…

This civilised scene is enhanced by classical music playing in the background.

On this occasion the music was stopped by an announcement that when the meal was over, we all had to follow a path lit by candles to the other end of the park where we would have an explanation of the sky and its stars that night. (Most people had brought mats so that they could lie down and observe in comfort.)

Of course the talk was in rapid Italian, so after a while we slipped away, only to find that the candles along the path had gone out and we nearly fell in the stream.

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