In Italy’s Dark Heart
On a motorbike ride across southern Italy in the Sixties, I stopped at an outdoor café in a hilltop village somewhere in the middle of Basilicata. A group of men and boys gathered a few yards away and, with that unnerving look of blank curiosity and suppressed hostility which you sometimes encounter in peasant areas, watched in silence while I drank my coffee. My discomfort ended only when they turned to inspect the much more interesting English motorcycle, a big old 350cc BSA. One of the boys mumbled a comment, and the ice was broken.