Italy’s balcony singing stops, but the solidarity continues

AS March drew to a close, communities in Italy mourned the deaths of over 10,000 people due to Covid-19. Now in the fourth week of lockdown, the country’s spirited balcony sing-a-longs and flash mobs have all but ceased, but solidarity still remains. 

With non-essential businesses closed for weeks now, many Italians are facing dire economic hardship in the coming months, and some are already struggling to buy food. A priest in Naples reported, “There are now long queues at food banks,” and supermarket looting was seen in Sicily. 

However, these reports have provoked acts of kindness from Italians. Images have been shared on social media of packets and tins of food left out for those in need. Signs read, ‘Whoever is in need, take. No one is left behind.’

In Naples, ‘baskets of solidarity’ have been suspended with signs saying, ‘Who is able to can add, who can’t can take.’ Residents have been depositing food in the baskets for those in need. 

Despite the government declaring the provision of emergency funding including €400 mllion to mayors to be converted into food stamps, authorities say this will not be enough. For the moment, many of the most vulnerable are relying on the kindness of their fellow citizens. 

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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