If the parts precede the whole, in Italy these three identical consonants in 2022 (which, incidentally, has treble twos) seem to suggest the name of film director Pier Paolo Pasolini, this year being the centenary of his birth. But as the PPP trio dances before our eyes, the mind boggles with other possibilities…

The first word that comes to our boggling mind is Pompeii which was discovered exactly on 1 April 1748 under the reign of Charles of Bourbon. This King of Naples was Spanish (and indeed was later to become Charles III of Spain), but also half Italian. His mother was the Italian noblewoman Elisabetta Farnese who left him an inheritance of paintings by Titian, Raphael and many other great Masters of the Renaissance. King Charles moved them from his mother’s Duchy of Parma, to the Palace of Capodimonte in Naples: after all, they all belonged to him and he could take them wherever he wished. Today, 80 of these masterpieces are going back ‘home’ for a short stint and will be on display at an exhibition on the Farnese family at the Complesso della Pilotta (the Pilotta Palace in Parma). Our second “P” is, therefore, a line drawn between the two cities.

We’ll put our third between the first two like double-sided tape. The story goes that one day, just before he left for Spain, Charles personally found an ancient ring in the digs at Pompeii and symbolically left it behind. In so doing, and somewhat involuntarily, the King laid the foundations for what we now call heritage sites.

Pompeii, Parma and Heritage – which in Italian we call “Patrimonio” (whence the word “Patrimony”) and is hence our third “P”. A nice story that the other PPP might have been interested to hear about. All perfectly true. Not to mention the “P” of our “Pesce d’aprile”, or April Fish, the aquatic symbol of April Fool’s Day in Italy. A “sticky” fish if ever there was one, getting ready to unroll and wish you all a happy April 1st!