Published as cover story on Internazionale

The shadows of buildings and monuments obscure the portions of existence that used to be ours. By the imposition of the social distance and of the state of lock down, streets, squares, churches and museums have progressively emptied.

We have not been the same since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic, caused by the spread of COVID-19, on a global scale: the code name for an evil virus, hard to decipher. Invisible, volatile and yet lethal. Initially, Italians started giving moral support to each other by organizing flash mobs and singing from their balconies and terraces except, after that, they remained dumbstruck as the country became one of the nations with the highest number of victims in the world. This virus has taken over our lives, as we once knew them, and has become a personal matter for each of us. It has forced us to cut ties with our families and friends. It has made us look at our dusty and dirty streets with different eyes, like-wise our memories of those paved and crowded with tourists. Moreover, it is not the flags displayed out of windows that give the idea of our national unity, but, possibly, that deeper awareness that causes us to live-out the same fears and gives us a glimpse of the same hopes. While the world, as we knew it, has stopped, cities themselves have started to breathe once more, with cars at a standstill under apartment blocks and the historic centers emptied of tourists, as a reminder to us of the distance between the center and the suburbs. Dreams and reality. Subsequently, in just a matter of weeks, we have gone from the dismayed eyes of the salespersons behind the shop windows of luxury stores with virtually no customers, to the eyes of all of us staring blankly at our reflection in the greying windows of our homes. Somewhere in the middle there is an invisible prison with overlapping thoughts. And our heads, that have remained outside, hanging by a thread. Like our suspended lives.