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Dear rest of the World: an open letter from Italy

Dear rest of the world, 

Italy here! As you might know, it's been a week since our government decided to put the country on lockdown due to the novel Covid-19 outbreak. People are staying at home, museums and schools have closed down, shops and stores are closed, and our cities have never been so empty. 

I know what you're thinking: the end of the world is near considering that even the Pope is staying at home. But please, friends, don't be so dramatic. Leave that to us, Italians (LOL). 

Since the declaration of national emergency, the country's been so quiet, it's scary. No traffic in the cities, no children laughing and playing in parks, no couples taking romantic promenades along the rivers that contour our peninsula. However, people are keeping themselves busy! Social networks are invaded by pictures of families baking sweets together, musicians sharing their art with others to keep them company, kids studying online with teachers and their fellow classmates. Even though our daily lives have been drastically changed, we still haven't forgot how to laugh, love, and live. 

Every day, around 6 pm, balconies are filled with people singing the same tune (be it the national anthem, or other songs). The idea behind it is to preserve the sense of community and to underline the importance of staying at home to prevent the outbreak in all regions and cities. To be honest, 6:00 pm is the highlight of these long and excruciating days. It's the moment when we are all reminded that we are all in this together. That this too shall pass and end. 

What I realized is that the air is much cleaner than before. You can hear birds chirping, water running, dogs barking, with no disturbance whatsoever. The level of pollution went down, and the only thing we are breathing now is love. There's something romantic about this quarantine. My people are divided and far apart. Nevertheless, the desire to reunite with the loved ones, grows bigger by the second. People are much kinder one with the other, they're more responsible towards their civic duties, and filled with a great will to live. 

The world is looking at us with hope and admiration, as well as compassion and brotherhood. And we thank you for that! We know that many of you had to cancel their trips to our beautiful country, and we are very sorry for that. We want you to know that we miss you. We miss our streets being filled with tourists and travelers, we miss being able to share our love for our country with you, and we miss being able to make you fall in love with our art, culture, and especially food. But one needn't to worry: soon, very soon, we will all be together again. 

As the spring brings the rebirth of nature, Covid-19 will bring the rebirth of Italy. In the meantime, stay home, be safe, follow our daily updates, and keep us in your thoughts! 

Yours truly, 

Italy

 

17th Mar 2020