After a year of death and solitude, Italy is a sober, serious place
As the first European country into lockdown, the nation’s suffering touched the world
This weekend marks exactly a year since the first, tentative lockdown in Italy. The closures were only in certain regions (such as Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna), and in specific sectors (such as schools), but the drastic measures still shocked the world. The country had recorded only 152 cases of, and three deaths from, Covid-19, so it all seemed like an overreaction.
But with every passing day, the closures became more draconian. By 4 March 2020 every school in Italy was closed; a week later the whole country went into full lockdown. By 12 March there had been 1,000 deaths (it seemed like a terrible benchmark back then), and only four days later, we passed 2,000. Most other countries were still partying at a time when we were prisoners in our own homes, watching scenes from an apocalyptic film on the news: medics in hazmat suits, hospital wards full of oxygen hoods and mortuaries so packed with coffins that the army was called in.