Later writers have been equally unkind, in Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped At Eboli, Calabria is described as “that other world, hedged in by custom and sorrow . . . where the peasant lives out his motionless civilisation on barren ground, in remote poverty, and in the presence of death”.

Fantastic, right? Even more reassuringly, I can see exactly what Levi means by the presence of death. I’m in a car driven by…