I am sure that Italians have had to give up a lot during the ongoing pandemic, but little could be more difficult than not being able to enjoy their friendly, customary interactions with amici. Anyone who has been in Italy has had wonderful encounters with people they hardly knew, who then became dear friends.

A few years ago, I met the owner of Silvio, a beautiful white mule (fig. 1). He had been a successful merchant in Roma, but the memories of a much easier life at


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