Italy and Coronavirus Interviews
Coronavirus is everywhere on the news these days. Recently, Gary and I thought we should take a moment while connecting with friends in Italy and ask them a few questions about how they are dealing with this horrible pandemic. Two friends interviewed are Italian and have lived in Italy all their lives. One woman is a Facebook friend and originally from California, USA now living in Florence, Italy since 2016.
These interviews were conducted during the last week of March 2020.
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Interview #1: Genoa, Italy
When Gary and I were staying for a month in Scafati, Italy we had the most amazing experience of our lives with our apartment owners and their family. For those who might not know where Scafati is located close to Pompeii on the west coast of Italy.
Stefania and Giuseppe own the apartment in Scafati but are currently living in Genoa, Italy. They have three adorable children and Stefania agreed to answer our questions regarding the Coronavirus pandemic:
- Currently, how long have you been on lockdown? One month
- Are you still working? Unfortunately, no
- How has the Coronavirus affected your business? The business is completely stopped
- How are you dealing with day-to-day with small children? What are you doing differently? We are following the school program online and we are spending all the time to support our children in studying.
- How are you dealing with not being able to get together with friends and family? This is doing a very bad effect on our life, cause we are very warm people and we are feeling very bad.
- Are there any shortages of supplies in your town? No problem at all, everything is available
- I’m sure you have heard about the toilet paper hoarding going on in the USA. What are your thoughts about this? Those think happening during the war economy
- Do you know anyone infected with the Coronavirus and are they doing alright? No, we don’t know anyone
- Did you have enough time to prepare for the lockdown mandate? In this case, time is never enough
- Do you think the Italian government is doing everything it can to help stop the spread of the virus? Yes, Italians are very strong in an emergency.
- Do you think the news outlets in Italy are reporting factual information? I think so, I also think that nobody knows well how the virus can be transmitted, so it is the best choice to be locked down.
- What do you think Italy will look like when this crisis is over? Italy will be very disastrous after this.
Interview #2: Florence, Italy
Gary and I are Facebook friends with Sally Carrocino and her adorable sidekick, Zoe. We had hoped to finally meet Sally last year when we were in Florence, but unfortunately, we didn’t get the chance. My fingers are crossed for the future. You can find out more about Sally as she has an amazing website, Espresso to Prosecco.
- Currently, how long have you been on lockdown? Since March 12th
- How are you dealing with confinement on a daily basis with Zoe? I take her out every three hours for a little walk. Zoe likes this. Lots of rest and she has me 24/7. I have a little local grocer a block away and they do great prepared food. They are open mornings from 7:30 to 13:00. I go every couple of days and the big market for things I can’t get from the small market maybe every 10 days.
- How are you dealing with not being able to get together with friends? We communicate through WhatsApp. I have a few groups. In my movie group, we share what we’re watching on Netflix and Amazon Prime. In my book group, we share what we’re reading.
- Are there any shortages of supplies in your town? No
- I’m sure you have heard about the toilet paper hoarding going on in the USA. What are your thoughts about this? It makes me crazy. People are idiots. I’m sure some of that is in Italy as well. The US doesn’t have all the idiots.
- Do you know anyone infected with the Coronavirus and are they doing alright? No
- Did you have enough time to prepare for the lockdown mandate? Yes, I saw it coming. Zoe and I go out to lunch every day. It’s something I enjoy. Much prefer going out to lunch than dinner. So the day before lockdown, I went to one of my favorite little places. I had my favorite pasta and then ordered 2 servings to go. Froze them and then these were my Sunday treats. I try to make my lunches special each day.
- Do you think the Italian government is doing everything it can to help stop the spread of the virus? Yes, I do. It should have started a little earlier but I read today they were trying to be politically correct. Not wanting to be racist toward the Chinese. That was a big mistake.
- Do you think the news outlets in Italy are reporting factual information? I don’t know but I sure hope so. Today is the second day in a row that the cases have gone down. Let’s hope that continues.
- What do you think Italy will look like when this crisis is over? I’m not a psychic, I try not to think about it. I’m really working hard not to be negative and panic. We spend so much of our lives worrying about things that never happen. I don’t want to be a Pollyanna but also not a worrywart.
When asked if there was anything else Sally would like to share:
“Given a choice, I am glad I am in Italy and not the US. California had become a hell hole before the virus. Italians are known for not following rules. I don’t see that now.”
Update 2022: Sadly, both Sally and Zoe are no longer with us. We think of them often in our prayers.
“…But when the plague ends, there may also be those who will not wish to return to their former lives. There will be those – the ones who are able to, of course – who will leave the job that for years stifled and suppressed them. Some will decide to leave their family. To separate from their partner. To bring a child into the world, or precisely to refrain from that. There will be those who will come out of the closet (out of all manner of closets). Some will start to believe in God. There will be religious believers who will apostatize. Possibly a consciousness of life’s brevity and fragility will spur men and women to set a new order of priorities. To insist far more on distinguishing the wheat from the chaff. To understand that time – not money – is their most precious resource.”– David Grossman, an Israeli Author
You can read the interesting article here, David Grossman
Interview #3: Rome, Italy
We met Antonella a while ago on the Expat.com website. She’s a young Italian woman, originally from Milan, and we connected with her immediately. Currently in Rome and isolated in her apartment, we Skyped with her to get her perspective on what is happening in the world. She shared some answers to our Coronavirus questions:
- Currently, how long have you been on lockdown? A little over 3 weeks
- Are you still working? Yes, I am smart working as they call it in Italy
- How are you dealing with not being able to get together with friends and family? I use Skype and WhatsApp to contact my parents. From 6:00- 6:15 pm, everyday people play music which started from the flash mob sending out the information. Most of the time, they have a guideline for three songs. The first one usually starts with the national anthem. You can play any kind of music. The guy across the street from me goes on his rooftop and plays his music from there.
- What are you doing to pass the time? I listen to music and read. Almost everyone in my building is gone. It is a very difficult time.
- Are there any shortages of supplies in your town? No shortages. Going to the supermarket is scary as I don’t have a mask. I keep my 6-feet distance and go about once per week. I gather my trash and it is an event to go outside and through it out. There is plenty of smooth pasta on the shelves – it’s the kind with ribs for the sauce to stick that are less available.
- I’m sure you have heard about the toilet paper hoarding going on in the USA. What are your thoughts about this? I think it is funny and I heard about the sale of guns in the United States is on the rise. Italians don’t understand that way of thinking.
- What do you think of the news in the United States? America’s level of organization is amazing. I watch the presentation from Governor Cuomo in New York and he has exact figures. Italy doesn’t have this kind of detailed information. The US is focusing on the elderly it seems but everyone is affected.
- Do you know anyone infected with the Coronavirus and are they doing alright? No
- Do you think the Italian government is doing everything it can to help stop the spread of the virus? Yes. Italians don’t generally “blame” anyone as there are more serious issues to deal with. Some political parties do. Italy has asked the Chinese government to help Italy.
- What do you think Italy will look like when this crisis is over? I think the communities will change. I think tourism will change too
- What is the first thing you will do when the lockdown is lifted? I will take a nice long walk
When asked if there was anything else Antonella would like to share:
“Lombardy and Bergamo are the worst hit areas. Cofins are being piled in churches until the military takes them away. No funerals are allowed for these families. Less cases are in the south but I heard that during the middle of the night, many from the “red areas” took trains down to the south to leave.”