A Mystery is Solved

Ah, sweet mysteries of life …

I took the train up to Florence for a quick visit last weekend. Lacking any plan for the day, I got off the train and just walked toward all the good stuff. It’s easy to understand why Florence is such a popular destination. The beauty of the city practically slaps you in the face. The main attractions are pretty concentrated in a relatively small area, so it’s a delightfully walkable place.

While I was meandering, I heard some band music, so I hustled over to see what was going on. I couldn’t make any sense of what I saw, although it was thoroughly riveting.  It seemed very spontaneous; there didn’t seem to be a planned parade route. The uniforms were captivating …

and then the musicians took off at a trot — while they were playing! The crowd that had gathered broke out in a cheer.

I assumed this would be one of those things I would never quite understand.

But when I described this band in my Italian class this week, my teacher beamed at my good fortune. I had apparently happened upon a highly prized Italian treasure — i Bersaglieri.  These men are the musicians who represent a very prestigious corp of the Italian Army. I Bersaglieri are known for the black feathers on their helmets and the “fast jog pace they keep on parades.” And I got to see both!

What a day.