Nearly everyone else in the Piazza Caprerer was milling about or gazing at the 18th century Basilica di Santa Margherita, whose walls glowed the palest lemon in the morning sun. One man was not, he came from one corner of the piazza. His stride was slow but steady and determined; nothing would come between him and the opposite corner of the square.
The peak of his blue gabardine cap seemed to lead the way. From the fact that it was ten thirty in the morning and from the look of him, he was retired. His coat was a slightly darker shade of blue than his cap. Under his elbow was his folded copy of the Corriere della Sera, he would open it and read it from front page to back once he had reached his café.
The basilica bell sounded the half hour. The man nodded his head, a tiny movement.
The man’s face was that of a man who had worked outdoors and his eyes were fixed ahead, towards his destination. From his lower lip, kept there by years of practice, hung his half-smoked morning cigar. He was a man content with living his life in the unchanging Italian way.
I was travelling with the excellent Great Rail