Cheek by ciao: why communal spirit will save Italy

World

Cheek by ciao: why communal spirit will save Italy

Italians have always had a laid-back attitude to rules, but they make up for it with how they care for each other

Cristina Odone

The world’s highest death toll from coronavirus outside China. The country in lockdown. Prisoners rioting. An economy in freefall.

In the space of a few weeks, my native Italy has been transformed from a favourite tourist destination to a plague-ridden no-man’s land. The dolce vita has turned sour.

When I Skype my extended family in Piedmont, a prosperous region in the northwest hitherto associated with Gavi and truffles, they stoke my fears: my namesake, little Cristina, is being kept home from kindergarten until April 3; her parents have to fill in an “auto-certifying” form whenever they go anywhere specifying their point of departure and destination, that they are not infected, and that they are taking measures to prevent infection...

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