churchA family of 6 from Newport Beach, California, asked upon their arrival to our home in Tuscany, where they could go, close by. They already had their Sunday lunch and were tired of being in their car. I suggested that Montecatini Terme, the spa town down the hill from us is not only famous for its thermal waters, gardens and designer shops, but for the “passeggiata,” promenade through the town after the usual very filling Italian Sunday lunch. Stores would be open, as well as gelaterias, and local coffee bars, I explained. In the summer it may be for an ice-cream and during the winter possibly to show off their fur coats but the entire town goes out after their Sunday lunch for the after lunch stroll.

A few hours later the family returned. They looked tired but with uncontrollable laughter preceded to tell me their experience strolling down the street with the locals. They failed to reach Montecatini and mistook the town directly below us, Monsummano, as the correct town. Seeing the crowd of strollers they parked their car and joined the locals, confirming my statement that the entire town seems to be involved. Shortly after joining the group, the father of the family questioned as to why priest and altar boys were leading the locals. As the procession turned into the cemetery grounds they realized they were in a funeral procession, and never did get to experience the Sunday stroll after lunch in Montecatini Terme.