Funeral cards helped old man through lockdown, before his own was made
Marzio Toniolo describes what it was like to lose his grandfather to dementia during Italian lockdown
Each time he went to a funeral, Gino Verani came away with a “santino”, the traditional laminated card with a picture of the deceased on the front and a prayer on the back.
Over the years he would slip them into two small cardboard boxes in a drawer in the living room of his house in San Fiorano — a town in northern Italy that was at the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus pandemic — with his watch, an outdated cellphone and his keys.
By the time Verani died on September 6 at the age of 88, he had collected nearly 150 “santini”, so-called because they are similar to cards bearing images of Roman Catholic saints...