On the Balconies of Italy

Italy is among the countries severely struck by the COVID-19 outbreak, yet its resilient people have found a way to soften the blow through singing and strumming on their balconies.


On 9 March, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared a complete lockdown of Italy to stem its growing number of COVID-19 cases. Within hours after the implementation, police began to rove, and in a matter of days, silence swept across the country with only several groceries and pharmacies open. Major sporting events and gatherings are either cancelled or placed on temporary hold. Museums, cultural centres, and more have closed their doors.

At the centre of the debilitating crisis, millions of Italians are forced to stay at home and distance themselves from each other. With people locked indoors, the stillness outside is an unbelievable sight, almost resembling an apocalyptic film, but amidst the nervous silence, you would perhaps hear someone sing or play an instrument on the balcony.

Over the weekend, the Guardian has reported that people in the apartment buildings in Naples up to Turin are singing or playing music. There’s an opera singer in Florence who sang popular songs while a group of neighbours in Rome harmonized to some folk melodies.

These locals are boosting their morales during these trying times. Some of the neighbours who have even never met wave at each other for the first time. Their actions quickly caught social media attention and the serenading in this time of great anxiety has reached Spain and the Netherlands.

For quieter Italian neighbourhoods, banners and posters spreading encouragement are waving outside their homes.

Here’s a video report courtesy of South China Morning Post:

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