From rainbow posters to window concerts: How Italians are staying positive during Coronavirus lockdown

As Italians face their third day of nationwide lockdown, many are finding creative ways to help each other keep spirits high. From motivational craft projects for children stuck at home, to musical flash mobs, here are ways Italians are spreading a positive message.

At 6pm on Friday night, musicians across Italy came to their windows to play music out into the streets. The flash mob was started using a Facebook event, whose organisers wrote, “It doesn’t matter if you know how to read music or not, if you play or have an instrument, just sing a song or use pots and pans!” Many took to Twitter to document the 15 minute concert. In Bassano del Grappa, residents were treated to a bit of jazz, while in Rome people opted for singing the folk song and later anti-fascist classic Bella Ciao

Balcony singalongs had already been used in some towns to lighten up the quarantine period. One video from Benevento shows residents on their balcony playing tambourines to music, while in Sannio some children entertained their neighbours by singing the national anthem.  

Italian newspaper La Repubblica shared a video from a street in Lecce where one patriotic resident played the national anthem at full volume. It draws people onto their balconies, who clap and cheer as the music ends. A thread on Twitter is now sharing videos of whole apartment blocks of people who are coming to their windows and balconies to have a collective singalong of the national anthem.

While many adults began their isolation at home only a few days ago, children have been home from school for weeks. To occupy them and to spread positivity, parents have been helping their children to create posters with the slogan andrà tutto bene, meaning “it will be alright”. Just as the Cantonese phrase jiayou, translating as “don’t give up”, was used in the streets of China, so too are the Italian posters being hung beneath windows and on shop doors to spread a message of hope.  

Monica Profumo runs Globe English Academy, a private language school in Piove di Sacco in the Veneto. “This moment is very difficult,” she says, “because we are all worried for our health, and the health of our family, friends, the people in our cities and country.” With the new regulations in place, she explains that, “we cannot go out or work – I had to close my Academy and it will be a big loss. It is difficult to explain to a three-year-old child why she cannot go to school, play with other children and go out.” Monica and her daughter decided to make one of these posters (below): “We made this poster to be positive that everything will be alright and we will be able to go out again and go back to a normal life,” she says.

Monica and her daughter's poster

Communities have also been coming together to help those most affected by the quarantine, such as the elderly or disabled. Shops and restaurants have been offering to deliver groceries and food to homes, while many people are posting their phone numbers on social media for people to get in touch if they need assistance. 

In Milan, the cooperation Legacoop Lombardia has organised 40 taxis to be offered free of charge for elderly people who need to travel for emergency or health reasons. Pharmacies in the city are also offering a home delivery service of medicine to people over the age of 65, people who are unable to leave the house by themselves, or people who are in quarantine.  

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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