Stories of love and loss – the festival of the dead, the living and the memory

I don’t know who Reginaldo was, nor do I know if he died in this spot, on the road to Bossolasco in the Alta Langa. I think possibly not. I think this might just be a simple memorial in a picturesque spot, dedicated to a loved one.

They’re a funny lot the Italians sometimes. You might think that for all their melodrama, their loudness and enthusiasm for life, and especially their Catholicism, they would be equally melodramatic in their grief.

Strangely enough, it would seem the opposite. At least my experience has been of a matter-of-fact approach to death, as part of the life cycle, something that you mark, humbly and simply, and then move into memory.

Even in moments of great tragedy, unexpectedly losing a daughter for example, there is a kind of stoic acceptance that this is what God reserved for you in this world.

Yesterday was a day when Italians will also make death a social event, with a tinge of reverence however to the ritual of visiting a cemetery. And death can be a thing of beauty around these parts, with well-kept but perhaps ostentatious graveyards and tombstones.

Or this simple tribute along a ridge line in the Alta Langa as a stop along the road of a story of love and loss.

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