Celebrating the life of an old friend

The leaves are just turning this autumn in Italy, but with the sun shining, there was a steady procession through the village, over the canal to the old church for a commemoration of the life of a distinguished local man, Riccardo Pergolis, Professor of English-Italian translation. The church was packed, and there were three distinct elements to the service. His talents were not only as a linguist (represented by me, with a short talk in Italian and reading a poem in English) but as a builder of boats and a yachtsman, and a musician and maker of  harpsichords. A choir had come from Geneva, and sang a mixture of sacred and traditional folk music.

It was dark when we came out of the church, but we were all uplifted by the service, and walked along to the village hall where a typically Italian enormous feast had been prepared for 100+ people. We drank Serprino (upmarket Prosecco) and helped by the choir, sang as we chatted and sampled the local delicacies.

Some would call it networking. I’d say good fellowship, something that Italy does better than anywhere else I know.

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