I cannot say exactly when I noticed that matters were not going well with Francesco. There were scattered episodes of growing inattention, an increasing forgetfulness, the inability to follow even a simple argument, an almost maniacal obsessiveness over some things. They were signals, no doubt, but signals to which I did not wish to give too much importance, perhaps wanting to refute the signs of incipient ageing, or at least those that I attributed to age, because our life had been one of continuous vitality, of unceasing activity where the present served to plan the future.
We were both passionately fond of travelling and we had travelled so much together, starting with our first trip to Romania, during Easter week, many years before, shortly after we met. Francesco had a Fiat 1200 at the time and we took to the road in our open car heading towards the Danube delta, happy to enjoy the first spring sunshine and to savour new aromas, eager not to miss anything of the places we visited. We slept wherever the road took us, sometimes in so-called luxury hotels, sometimes in the houses of strangers, with many of whom we subsequently established a wonderful friendship.
Soon after that first trip, Francesco had wanted to equip his old camper, an ancient ambulance from the time of the Second World War, and transform it into a desert-going vehicle. Like the competent interior architect he was, he