Life Under Lockdown in Italy

Social distancing is always hard, but it seems even more confining for the Italians, ever a gregarious and demonstrative people…

As I’m sure nearly everyone knows, we’re going through a strange and most unusual time here in Italy, with the nation under nearly total lockdown. An unprecedented happening for our time and day in a democratic nation. And living through it seems quite surreal.

But I’m glad the Italian government reacted quickly and is making an effort to stop the spread of this virus and save lives. Even though many said they overreacted, but only time will show whether or not it was the right decision.

But what is life like under lockdown?

Strange. Eerie. Lonely. Perhaps for me, personally, I feel this a lot less than most people. I don’t get out much, and due to my husband’s job, spend most afternoons and evenings alone. Actually, I’m less alone these days because with schools closed he is off work. And our small town is usually quiet anyway. I only know what it must feel like in places like Rome, Milan, Florence, and Naples, or even in the midsized towns by talking to friends and what I see on news.

For Italians, a gregarious and social people, it’s extra hard. We hang out in piazzas and little courtyards over here. We stop off at the bar for a coffee, cappuccino, or beer, mostly just to hang out and be with people, learn the news, and share life together. We hug. We greet by kissing both cheeks. All of this has been put on hold. And it feels strange. We feel cut off.

Stores and services

Allowed to open/Still provided:

  • Health and hygiene related (including optical services and dental emergencies)
  • Supermarkets, butchers, bread & produce shops
  • Industry (most factories open)
  • Communications related (phones, internet, newspapers, TV, radio, mail, shipping)
  • For fuel, heating, lighting, water, trash
  • Hardware and building sectors
  • Financial sector
  • Insurance sector
  • Laundering sector
  • Travel (air, bus, train, car, sea)
  • Funerals (but without ceremonies)
  • Veterinary and pet services & supplies
  • Trash services

Not allowed to Open:

  • Schools, preschools, universities, etc.
  • Restaurants, pizzerias cafeterias, coffee bars (except those linked to hospitals, factories, highway rest areas, gas stations, airports, bus & train stations, etc.)
  • Pubs, discos, nightclubs
  • Ice cream and pastry shops
  • Religious services and ceremonies, including weddings and funerals
  • Public parks and sports fields
  • Malls and department stores
  • Shoe and clothing stores
  • Florists
  • Italy’s reknown outdoor markets
  • Hair stylists, barbers, etc.
  • Libraries, book stores, museums
  • Fairs, conferences, events, demonstrations, concerts, manifestations
  • Amusement parks, gyms, pools

Bars, pizzerias, and outdoor markets banned! It hardly seems like Italy!

Activities

What we can do (in our own town):

  • Go out to purchase necessities or walk pets (1 person per family)
  • Take children for a walk (1 adult, but this is frowned upon)
  • Sit or work in our own garden or on our balcony, family members only.
  • Connect with others by phone, internet, and mail.
  • Shop online or through telemarketing.
  • Read, listen to music, play games, watch movies & videos.
  • Craft, learn a new skill, write.
  • Pray, study, and worship God.
  • Laugh, sing, dance, and play music – like the Italians did with tonight’s singing fest done from windows!

What we can’t do:

  • Leave our home if we have any symptoms of the virus.
  • Leave our town (except for work, health reasons, or to assist nonautonomous loved ones).
  • Go to other homes or have others into ours.
  • Hug, kiss, or shake hands with non family members.
  • Use public parks.
  • Panic buy food, necessities, or medical supplies (not enforced, but greatly encouraged).

What we must do

  • Contact our doctor right away if we have any symptoms.
  • When we go out, we must maintain at least 1 meter distance from other people.
  • If we must leave town, we have to fill out and carry a written signed declaration of where and why we’re going. And they are stopping people.
  • Pay a fine of €206 (about $200 US) for breaking any of these rules, or serve time in jail. And it goes on the penal record.

Why am I giving so many details?

Because it’s a serious thing. And because other nations are discussing following some of Italy’s measures, and this might give you an idea of some of the things you could expect to experience.

Is it easy?

Of course not. It’s hard knowing so many are sick, dying, or fretting over loved ones. And none of us wants to be inconvenienced. No one likes giving up the safety of their routine or the things they love. Or going without pay (as in our case). Hubby’s job is one of those that falls through the cracks.

But it’s really not that hard to respect the rules as long as we remember it’s for the safety of us all. And we should be willing to go through a little temporary discomfort for the love of others. Isn’t it what Jesus would willingly do?

And remember that no wall, lockdown, or restriction can ever separate us from God’s love!

He is with us always!

Love is larger than the walls which shut it in.

Corrie ten Boom

Author: Signora Sheila

Missionary blogger, wife, mom, nonna. Join my simple life journey of faith and missions in small town Italy!

24 thoughts on “Life Under Lockdown in Italy”

  1. Sheila, Praying for you and the entire world. May this be a time that the world turns to the Lord. May you rest in the peace that only Jesus can give you, and may you and Mario remain healthy and pointing people to Jesus Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen, yes we must really pray for one another in these days. Our hearts are at peace, and we know know God has it all in hand. As you said, we are praying that this may speak to people and they will turn to the Lord. How is it getting in your area? I think of and pray for you all. Take care and keep safe!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Prayer is the key as we seek the things above. It is pretty crazy here. The grocery shelves are empty of canned goods, frozen veggies, bread, toilet paper, baby food, cleansers, sanitizers, eggs, etc. We’re in California, and there are limits on how many people can gather. People are panicking. We learned that this could be the new normal until August. That gives us much time to think about what is important in our lives. Praying for you and Mario. May the Lord keep you in peace and health. Karen

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        1. Thankfully, here the panic buying didn’t last long. Our stores are well stocked. Only masks and alcohol seem to be lacking. And yes, we definitely need to use this time to reflect and also to deepen our walk with God. Social distancing, I believe, has come about in part to teach us to turn to God. He is always there waiting for us to start a conversation. Let’s do it!! Praying for all my readers, wherever they are, that God will protect and keep hearts at peace. He is our all in all!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sheila, I’m praying for you and Mario. I’m glad that Italy is getting better. We’re hunkering down. I hope to meet you and Mario in the years to come. You are precious in God’s sight. May the Lord bless you, give you peace, and joy. Karen

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            1. Thanks Karen. People are at least calmer about shopping. Actually, panic buying didn’t last long. But sadly the cases and death counts are still rising. 😦 Praying it all ends soon, but I think it’s going to be a long and difficult haul. For all of us, everywhere.

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  2. I saw another video on FB of a “balcony choir” accompanied by two accordions and several tambourines. The surrounding walls provided wonderful acoustics, and they sounded wonderful! I love how resourceful people can be, making lemonade out of lemons! Praying for God to use this world-wide crisis for his kingdom’s sake.

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    1. I know, I also saw that one! And another where people went out on their balconies to clap for all the doctors and nurses. They’re great, aren’t they??! And yes. We must all pray that this crisis will bring people to call on him!

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  3. You have offered a rare and insightful glimpse of life when almost all the regular things in your life has been disrupted. Thanks, the suggestions you offered are excellent. We are just beginning to experience some of this, one case has been diagnosed in the county in which I live, and all the schools, university and event arenas are closed for several weeks. We have the symphony next week and I am suspecting that will be eliminated also. Your concluding comment is “spot on” — Nothing can separate us from the love of God and from His Will for our lives. We may think of it as an inconvenience, but His purposes will be completed no matter what! His love is transcendent and powerful, and we are His if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. Praise the Lord while praying for those affected by the virus, that the Lord will impress upon them the importance of coming to the Lord as their ultimate Healer and Friend..

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I was hoping it would be helpful as this spreads more and more. Knowing how to prepare can help so much. I agree and am also praying that in their fear and worry people will turn to the Lord. For as you state, he is the only and ultimate healer and friend! Thank you so much for those encouraging thoughts! Hoping it won’t get worse where you’re at. But at least we know from where our help comes!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am glad you shared this.. it is helpful to know the truth, you will be in my thoughts and prayers, things have just begun interrupt life-here in Texas and in most places it has been dubbed the great toilet paper famine of 2020.
    Many prayers—God Bless You

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    1. You are most welcome, Lena. I figured some on the spot news would be helpful with all the fake news circulating. I do not understand this rush on toilet paper! This virus doesn’t cause diarrhea. Thankfully, we are not facing shortages here. Only masks and have run out. And disinfectants like alcohol are low. But we have plenty of everything else – including toilet paper, lol! I praying the virus doesn’t escalate around the world! Many prayers for you all too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They are already talking about a possible quarantine in my state. We got groceries two days ago, and I’m considering venturing out one more time just to get a few things I didn’t write down.

        Continued prayers for all nations, yes! ❤

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        1. Good. The state where my family and our son lives and where my husband’s family lives are under state of emergency. Hubby’s family all live in and around NYC, and I fear things will be worse in the big cities. All we can do is pray, and trust knowing that God is in control. 🙏🙏 Yes, stock up, in a sensible way. We’re pretty sure our lockdown here will be extended. Cases are not yet declining.

          Liked by 1 person

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