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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Italian Diary: From the other side of the Curve

As the number of new cases and deaths continues to decline day by day, Italy is preparing to partially re-open.  People will be able to take longer walks, beyond the current 200 meter limitation. Restaurants will still be closed, but they can offer take-out in addition to delivery. Travel is still restricted; no travel into or out of the country will be allowed except for emergencies and the need to return to a permanent home, either in Italy or elsewhere.  Residents can travel within the region they live in for various purposes. Parks and gardens have been re-opened. Group events and socializing are still not allowed, although people can visit relatives in small numbers.

By adhering to strict measures for the past two months, Italy has effectively stemmed the tide of infection that swamped hospitals for many weeks and resulting in many thousands of deaths.  Despite it being very difficult for normally gregarious and affectionate Italians, people have complied with the social distancing measures without much complaining. The pervasive Italian attitude regarding the importance of responsibility to community has carried people through this trying period.

For our part, we are pleased that we can once again give business to local restaurants. We are buying more food from local stores which have been well-supplied by the local farming and fishing operations. Although the charming ambiance and services is not present, we can still compliment the chef of a restaurant by text and tip the family’s daughter for delivering our occasionally ordered meals. We also often buy an additional dinner for the widow up the street, who has been cut off from her family.

People are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. There still likely won’t be any usual Spring and early Summer festivals. But there is the possibility of seeing those again in August or September. They are such an integral part of the culture, its hard to imagine not having any at all.

One can sense a collective sigh of relief that we may have beaten this awful thing.

Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw
Mark Hinshaw is a retired architect and city planner who lived in Seattle for more than 40 years. For 12 years he had a regular column on architecture for The Seattle Times and later was a frequent contributor to Crosscut. He now lives in a small hill town in Italy.

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