Oh, yes, it's all true! We'd left Idaho a week earlier in tees and shorts, and 900 miles further south in San Francisco we found that we had to bundle up! Yet winter temperatures in summertime fit perfectly with our brief experience of the city, which was a series of subversions of our Italian cultural paradigms, and exactly what I'd hoped for - so that my kids would have a taste of that cultural heterogeneity that they never see back home, in our village in the middle of nowhere, rural Italy.
At first cultural diversity seemed somewhat hard to come by though, and Italian-ness followed us around. The evening we arrived, in fact, while Tom worked, I went out with the kids for a bite to eat in a lively street in Berkeley, and did we ever find food: an Espresso Cafe (!) across the street from a Mediterranean restaurant (!!) next to a gelato parlor (!!!) and a pizza place (!!!!). Despite the pervasive homogeneous Italian theme, though, this wasn't a bit like Italy: the pizza place in Berkeley, San Francisco was closing down at 8pm on a Friday night, just at the time when our local pizza joint back home would begin filling with customers.
The following day, dressed in every single piece of clothing we had with us, including great-grandma's parka that I'd serendipitously borrowed from the Idaho cabin, we braved San Francisco's weather, taking a BART train into town. (Here's where I won't digress to tell you how we had to wrestle a bit with the ticket machine - and how several kind locals stopped to help the Italian family clad in an old parka buy multiple return tickets).
And downtown San Francisco we finally ran in real cultural diversity. Namely, a small Gay Pride event that left us all dumbstruck, as we watched the group of stark naked people ride bicycles and cheer in the streets - decidedly something you'd never see in Italy. Oh, was that ever cultural diversity! Because, you know what would happen if you did that in Italy? If you cycled stark naked in Italy in winter-like temperatures, you'd be a hundred per cent guaranteed to come down with pneumonia. Whereas in San Francisco, you can cheerfully cycle naked, free from any preconceptions about disease.
(For more insights into the wide rage of illnesses that we Italians suffer in cold weather, read "How to avoid getting "hit by the air" in Italy")