My most enduring memory of Roma is of an occurrence on a cold November afternoon in the little green park which sits just above and overlooks the Coliseum. A lone woman, looking ninety or more years of age, carried two large shopping bags to a bench. After sitting down, she began to call out something in Italian, which I didn't understand. The most amazing thing then happened: within seconds, all manner of cats began to appear
from all directions. Some come singly, some in groups of two, three, or more. The old woman reached into a bag, and removed five large bowls. These she placed in a row on the ground, and filled them with food. Then she sat down to watch. By now there were at least twenty cats, and more coming. Some crawled through space below a nearby wall, some pranced across the park lawn, and some, I swear, even seemed to climb down from t
rees. And there they were, this multitude of cats, purring and meowing, and eating their fill. They made quite a lot of noise, as you might expect. It was not a sight I'd expect to see in the middle of one of the world's great cities, to be sure. After a while, the woman packed up her things, and went on her way, bidding her charges a fond farewell. The cats gradually dispersed, taking their own good time, as cats do. And befo
re long, it was just another chilly day in another park in Roma.