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Singing and Clapping: How Italians Fight Back Against The Coronavirus

Tommaso Invernizzi
Mar 30 · 5 min read
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“Italians are rowdy, love pasta and pizza, and when they speak they always express themselves using posture and gesture.” These are some of the sentences we are often told. The stereotypes about us are plenty and different. But there is one thing in particular, which during this difficult time has awakened in us and makes us so proud: empathy.

The emergency situation caused by COVID-19 has put a strain on the Italian population, which has found itself fighting an invisible and imperceptible enemy, who has entered our daily lives, distorting them. To fight the enemy, the Government has put restrictions in place on our sociality, forced quarantine and the definitive stop to everyday activities, forcing us to stay at home. Home and family, in our culture, have always been fundamental — and modern life, full of its commitments, appointments and races against time, made us forget about it a little.

From March 10th, the first day of our lockdown, time began to pass by slowly and we started to think and reflect more. Every day, news channels and social networks bring into our homes images of people fighting against the virus, supported by doctors and nurses who try to save as many lives as possible, without stopping, without taking a break. And it is here that the Italian soul came out, that the sense of belonging and the empathy that characterizes us, have awakened.

How did Italians react to this enemy? With 4 small but meaningful gestures.

1. When balconies began to play a concert across Italy

#iorestoacasa: this is the official hashtag born with our quarantine, which invites all Italians to stay in their homes in order to contain the spread of the virus. Staying at home, therefore, some with their families, some with their roommates and some, unfortunately, alone. We had to find a way to make time pass a little faster and, above all, to make it pass in good company, close even if distant. Main goal: to spread hope, strength and, why not, also light-heartedness.

Thus, on Friday the 13th of March, the first appointment came out from social networks. An appointment which brings all the Italians together, at 6 pm, on their balconies (or at the windows) to sing the National Hymn together. From then on, always at the same time, the appointment turns into singing Italian popular songs, such as “Azzurro”, “Il cielo è sempre più blu”, “Nel blu dipinto di blu”. But Italian creativity doesn’t end here: armed with pots, ladles, homemade maracas, megaphones, tambourines, bagpipes, guitars or any other possible instrument, Italians were invited to be heard, to play, to dance, to sing, to express their own strength from the balconies of all Italy!

2. The clapping hour dedicated to medical staff who are fighting the virus on the front line

The daily appointments quickly became two: the 6 o’clock one is the hope hour, while the 12 pm one is the clapping hour, thought to support, even from a big distance, all those heroes who fight against the virus for all of us.

At clapping hour Italians look out from their balconies and windows with a new goal: to clap as loudly as possible, while shouting a strong “thank you” to the sky. They hope it reaches the ears of all doctors, nurses, medical staff — of anyone who wears a lab coat or overalls at this time of collective difficulty. The “thank you” is directed to anyone who makes him/herself available to the community, making his/her precious contribution, despite the fear, uncertainty and tiredness of this period.

3. The colours of Italy against an invisible enemy

We didn’t only want to be heard, but also to be seen: the world had to know that we are more united than ever in the fight against the virus! And here is the Italian flag, flying proudly from every balcony and window. They fly together with banners that carry messages of hope, for a future that we hope will become reality as soon as possible.

Children, in particular, have an active role in this social movement: with markers and pencils on their hands, they have drawn rainbows, flowers and balloons followed by the hashtag #andràtuttobene (everything will be fine), to send a message of positivity and hope to everyone.

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4. Famous people entertaining their fans on social networks

This empathetic movement also came from the VIPs. Italian celebrities and famous singers, such as Andrea Bocelli, Chiara Ferragni, Laura Pausini and Tiziano Ferro, have organized direct videos on their social profiles to entertain and instil confidence in the nation. As if you were chatting with life-long friends, many well-known faces have spent a few hours together with their fans, sharing a virtual glass of wine and a song, for example.

Boosted by the popularity of these people, several fundraising activities have also been launched, to support hospitals and local authorities, with the aim to provide medical devices and equipment or to increase beds for intensive care. Crowdfunding campaigns have reached very high numbers, thanks to donations not only from Italy but from all over the world!

In a situation like this, our heart and patriotism have awakened and, even when confined to our own homes, we have been noisy and noisy once again: although far away, we want to feel close.

We are aware that for a foreigner it is difficult to understand Italy and Italians, but a phrase by Kotler — the most notable author among marketing theorists — has completely grasped this peculiarity of us:

“For the rest of the world Italy is a proper enigma, because it is the only country system that manages to produce value despite the situation of absolute chaos.”

If you would like to read this article in Italian, you can click here.

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Tommaso Invernizzi

Written by

FREE NOW Blog

The latest news and stories by the FREE NOW team

Tommaso Invernizzi

Written by

FREE NOW Blog

The latest news and stories by the FREE NOW team

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