12 ways Italians are keeping spirits high during the coronavirus pandemic
- The coronavirus has taken a drastic toll on Italy, with more than 10,000 deaths to date.
- The country is on lockdown, and residents can only leave their apartment for essential tasks, like grocery shopping.
- While the coronavirus has forced people to stay inside, Italians have found creative ways to lift spirits.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Italy has closed its borders. Its residents only leave their homes for essential tasks, and the country's medical staff is working nonstop on the front line of the coronavirus.
With one-third of all reported coronavirus deaths, Italy is one of the worst-affected countries in the world. The death toll is currently at 10, 779.
Despite the numbers, Italians have found creative ways to lift spirits.
From singing the national anthem on balconies to virtual family dinners, Italians continue to stay unified during these uncertain times.
The Italian Air Force lifted spirits by painting an Italian flag in the sky
The message was sent as a reminder of the strength of Italian people and to create unity in this challenging time, according to The Aviation.
Classic movies have been projected for entire neighborhoods to watch
As Italians are isolated in their homes, an organization had a new idea to lift morale. Alice nella Città, an independent part of the Rome Film Fest, encouraged residents with projectors to cast films onto buildings.
The film directors launched the project from their homes in Rome, Italy, according to Deadline. Since then, the movement has expanded across the country to parts of Pisa, Turin, and Palermo.
Volunteers are sewing masks
With fabric and sewing machines, Italians have sewed masks as the country experiences a shortage.
Gisella Pindinello, pictured above, sews masks for neighbors and friends for free. She uses colorful patterns to brighten their day.
Fashion makers, like Miroglio, have also pivoted to producing masks for hospital staff.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, homemade masks should only be used as a last resort, but medical workers are currently experiencing a shortage of equipment. Homemade masks will ideally be used with a face shield that covers the entire front and sides of the face.
Italians are taking to their balconies to sing and dance
From the streets of Siena, you could hear "Viva la nostra Siena," which translates to "Hooray for our Siena." Across the country in Rome, their song choice was Italy's national anthem. Italians across the country pick songs, open windows, and sing from their balconies.
While the singing bonds the community, it's also a successful way to avoid nonessential contact.
Italian engineers are finding creative ways to fight the coronavirus
The coronavirus makes it challenging for patients to breathe, so many require a ventilator, which takes over breathing for the patient. With Italy experiencing such a high number of coronavirus cases, the country is facing a ventilator shortage.
In response, engineers have developed a creative solution, which uses scuba masks and 3D printing to build makeshift ventilators.
Doctors reached out to a 3D printing company with the idea of using scuba masks, according to The Independent. The company quickly developed a valve that can attach a full-face scuba mask to a breathing machine, thus creating a ventilator.
Children have turned windows and balconies into art displays
With their extra free time, Italian children pulled out their construction paper, paints, crayons, and art supplies to create colorful pictures for their neighbors.
The slogan "andrà tutto bene," which translates to "everything will be fine," has become a popular reminder during the quarantine. The slogan and colorful rainbows can be found on balconies, posted in windows, and chalked on sidewalks throughout Italy. The goal is to share and inspire hope during the lockdown.
Florence's sports teams spread joy and awareness
Calcio Storico, which is an ancient sport similar to soccer and rugby, is known to build community and morale across Florence, Italy. Each neighborhood has its own team, and every summer the teams compete in a city-wide tournament.
While practice is put on pause, the teams searched for other ways to boost morale in their neighborhoods.
One team provided a delivery service for seniors who couldn't leave their apartment. Another team published a video, which urged everyone to stay home. A third team printed out flyers to spread awareness and joy throughout the city, according to AGI.
The International Opera Choir hosted an online performance
Standing in Italian apartments and performing for a computer screen, the International Opera Choir in Rome performed "Va 'Pensiero," or "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves." The performance's goal was to create unity in a time of uncertainty.
While the song was sung in Italian, viewers around the world listened to the incredible performance.
Happy hours and family dinners are not forgotten
In Italy, happy hour is called apericena, which would typically take place at a friend's apartment or local bar. The coronavirus has made a traditional apericena impossible, but Italians have quickly adapted.
Now, they virtually spend their happy hours together.
Erica Firpo, a BBC reporter, described what it's like. "In the absence of restaurants, it seems that more and more quarantined Italians are rediscovering age-old family recipes from their nonne (grandmothers) and sharing them across social media," she wrote.
Famous Italian chefs, like Massimo Bottura, have hosted Instagram cooking shows for those quarantining.
People gather on their balconies to clap for medical workers
Each day, Italians gather on their balconies and open their windows to cheer for medical staff who have been working nonstop to fight the coronavirus.
The cheers provide support and thanks to the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff on the front line of the pandemic.
Pope Francis unites Christians during a time of uncertainty
Pope Francis urged Christians around the world to pray and support each other.
On Wednesday, he hosted a prayer event at the Vatican's Library. His message was livestreamed on the Vatican News Facebook page.
Generations are helping each other to stay healthy
Seniors and immunocompromised individuals are at a higher risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. For these populations, trips to grocery stores and pharmacies have become much riskier.
In Italy, organizations have drastically expanded their volunteer networks. Now volunteers, often younger individuals, can shop and run errands for those who can't.
These programs helped bridge generations and strengthened support systems.
Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.
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