As I’m sure you’ve heard, the whole of Italy is on coronavirus lockdown right now. We’re not supposed to leave home unless for work, health or family reasons. And if we do go out, there is a form to fill in and carry at all times in case we get stopped by the police. We are allowed to move around within our town – walking and cycling are fine so long as there is no socialising involved – and we are allowed to go out to buy food, though ideally at the closest shop, and only one member of a family at a time. Bars and restaurants can open until 6pm every day, though many have chosen to close so as to encourage people to stay at home.
Schools have been closed for a couple of weeks already and lessons are now taking place over the internet.
Despite all this though, there is a certain feeling of calm. Everyone I have spoken to (by phone, obviously) accepts that the government is doing the right thing. Once people started fleeing Lombardia on Saturday night, there was really no other choice. Watching the numbers spiral every day has been terrifying and we now all feel like we are doing our bit to help. Of course, Italians don’t generally have a great relationship with rules, but so far, in this area at least, people seem to be playing along. I’ve seen a strength and an acceptance that I hadn’t really expected
We’re also starting to see some acts of kindness… Nascetta bar in Novello has closed its doors for the whole period, and the lady who owns it has offered to go shopping for people who can’t get out, look after children if anyone needs and is also giving away all the food she had bought in. Someone else has started posting puppet shows online every day, to give children something to look forward to.
For our part, we are getting on with jobs around the house, working in the garden, going for walks in the woods opposite the house and going for short bike rides. This has become the new normal. It’s unsettling to think we can’t just get in the car and go wherever we want, but that’s a pretty small sacrifice really.
Of course, then there’s the financial sacrifice. Like many others here, we live off of tourism and things right now are looking bleak. It is so upsetting to wake up every day to emails from people who have to cancel or postpone their trips. We have worked really hard over the past few years to get to a point where we have so many bookings and now they are all draining away. It’s frightening to think what might happen if things don’t improve at some point this year, and not just for us.
Financial worries aside though, I think my point is that the lockdown isn’t so bad. There is no rioting, no food (or loo paper) shortage, no zombies roaming the streets, no anger, no panic… people are just staying home, getting on with things and doing their best to get through this difficult period. We’re only two days in, so I haven’t lost my mind yet, but if in the next update I tell you’ve I’ve drawn a face on a football and called him Wilson, send for help.