Hello to you all. Some of you have been kind enough to email me asking how we are surviving in Italy when I know the headlines around the world are suggesting conditions are dire here. Yet me reassure you that we are well.
Our city, province and even region do not have a large number of cases of Covid 19; however we have been in self imposed isolation for longer than the country as a whole as a friend of ours with who we had been in contact was teaching and some of his students had been in contact with another student who was the very first case here in Viterbo.
We started our self isolation week commencing the 24th of February while the lockdown of the country began on the 9th March.
I have never been so grateful to have a garden. Most Italians live in apartments, many without even a balcony – I do not know how they are managing to survive; I would be completely crazy by now. For most of March the weather was lovely, sunny and warm and I achieved weeding the whole garden and mulching all the beds.
Sadly last week the wind began blowing from Siberia and the icy temperatures and and glare force winds completely killed all the wisteria flowers before most had even opened. I could have cried!
Restrictions are justifiably strong. You can only leave the house for 3 reasons; to go to work – but most offices are working from home, and all shops except food stores are closed, medical reasons, and to shop for necessities. You must carry a document (which seems to change almost daily) which states who you are, address where you are registered, where you are actually living, where you are travelling from and where to and at what time. You cannot travel outside the community in which you live.
Up until this week most people I know have been relatively positive; meeting friends for virtual aperitivi, keeping in close contact via social media and all being generally supportive of each other.
Although the rise in new cases is slowing, hearing the figures for deaths each day is hard. Many fear we will still be in lockdown as we enter the warmer months; it would be intolerably hard to be inside their homes when the weather becomes hot. So again I feel very fortunately to live in the country with a garden.
We are also fortunate to have a vegetable garden that is still giving us winter vegetables and a freezer still well stocked with crops from last summer.
Italy was the first country to be affected by the virus in Europe and we are 2 or 3 weeks ahead of you in the virus’s progress. Please all you keep safe; don’t think that it won’t be so bad where you live. Unless everyone plays their part and stays in social isolation the virus will spread faster and further and health services won’t be able to cope with the numbers of cases needing admission. EVERYONE can help by staying at home and resisting any impulse to go out if it isn’t completely necessary.
Thank you again for your kind messages; I will be responding to you all.