an autentic medieval town located in the heart of Tuscany , thirty kilometers far from Florence, immersed in the green of innumerable nurseries plants,surrounded by Appennine mountains filled with chestnut trees and it is right here,in this hydillic lovely and quiet place, where the Covi19 killed so many people starting from end of February 2020.
Pistoia has been one of the most affected city of Tuscany and ,since March 9th , we were in lockdown as the whole Italy.
I will never forget the night when our Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, announced to the Nation, on tv, the restrictions we should have to respect and ,furthermore , the impossibility to move from one region to another ,and even from one city to another of the same region and of course cannot leave Italy.
This was such a shoch to me, as you can imagine . Another unbelievable restriction was to bring with us a self certification to be filled with detailed information to specify where and why we were outside by car of feet .
This made me feel controlled as if I were a prisoner in my homeplace,such a feeling of oppression I have never had before in all my life.
Streets were empty,no cars at all, no people around or in the parks , no kids playing in the public garden with their games, no bikes around, only some people with dogs were allowed to walk but just 200 meters far from home and police cars were everywhere to stop people and check for self certifications and we could be fined with a big one.
Another horribile thing I couldn’t really hear and see was cars with a megaphone that were speaking loud ,in every street ,throughout the recordered voice of our major, the following warning : ”stay at home! Don’t go out! Only to the supermarket but one person only per family or just go to work or to hospital for emergencies.”
Nothing else we could do during those days:just wait inside our homes and pray, hope , eat of course and cook and listen to the news on tv or on mobile. After a while I decided to surpress the excess of bad news stopping watching tv: the number of deads upedated every hour couldn’t listen anymore.
All this made me remember my grandmother’s memories of the Second World War and I felt as the Third one was just begun .
Even the empty shelves in the supermarket told me the same story : no more flour, no more baking powder (as everyone tried to be a master chef just for one or more days!) no more chocolate, no more alcohol for the disinfection , while alcholic drinks as wine were fortunately available all the time, but not a real wish to drink it as nothing to celebrate, and still missing at the present when I am writing ! – and….this is really amazing no more paper towels!
It has been a very tough period for me but now this is over ,finally, and I wish to spread the world my refound freedom as the free woman I have been since I was born and I have been for all my life until last March.
What an immense joy to be free to go out without a reason , just with the only simply wish of walking and enjoying the smell of the spring in the air,all the blossoms of all the beautiful roses I missed in the quaratine,the blue sky over my head, the sunrays on my hair as a blessing.
Althought we are still wearing a mask we tried to invent colored covers to have fun and feeling to be in fashion even wearing them.
However, it is not so easy to go back to normality in a short time :two months of prigiony couldn’t be forgotten in a single day!
I understood that my mind has changed so much in this period of self isolation .
About this I remembered a tale I have read some time ago: there was an elephant in a circus linked to a big chaine to a tree and it was obliged to walk around it all day long before performing in the show every night , it was impossible for it to move from there and to change its path and every day he was dreaming about his free,wild life in the jungle before the circus.
When after some years the circus closed the elephant was finally free but instead of running away, it carried on the same itinerary he did until that day ..Maybe the virus had the same effect on me ? And probably not only on me?
So,for this reason I started to force myself to do again the same things I did before the lockdown and try to have my breakfast at the bar, eat in a restaurant,meet people in the street and chatting.
I want to think to this post-lockdown as a new Renaissance : we had the phase nr.2 when we had less restrictions such as going out by bike just from one place to another without no stopping into the midde but I wonder what could happen if we would have stopped?maybe we could speak with others and groups of people were not allowed .
We had the chance to see again our relatives until the 6th level but,for me , as an only child I wasn’t happy to see just my very few relatives (but we could just meet them and greet , no kisses , no hugs of course and the worst thing… not eating together! )
As you can easly understand being Italians eat together is part of our lifestyle ; as the Greel philosopher Plutarco wrote in about 110 a.D., ”Mediterranean people don’t just enjoy eating but eating TOGETHER” so , as Italians,we need to seat together and share food because for us it is the best way we know to celebrate special events, so in this case meeting without eating together…it is something we haven’t been so happy for .
I know that as like after September 11th nothing will be the same anymore, but I have to do my best to find again a bit of sociality that I missed so much during the lockdown.
The first day , just three weeks ago, we had the permission to go outside and visit our friends – not only relatives ! – so I drove to see a friend of mine who lives in the countryside of Pistoia and we had a walk into the forest always keeping the distance, wearing masks but TOGETHER!
Walking free in the nature , finding all this green around me , have the feeling of being free again just few kilometers far from the city, enjoyong the company of my beloved friends have been fantastic , a real refounded joy, if I were a child .
I think that we all need to share our life with others, self isolation made me understand how sad could be a life without friends, how important our relationships are with others . We could live without tv or radio but not without them.
I have learned from this self isolation that each day is a real gift, everything I am doing now after the lockdown is like I have been doing it for the first time , so for this reason I am appreciating it much more than before, having an ice cream walking is one of the greatest pleasure.
I have learned that each day is an unique chance you have , everything could change in one night and it lasts only what really counts : yourself .
I have learned that I can wear the same clothes for days but not the same thoughts : these changed and my fantasy really helped my mind to carry on thinking about new projects and dreaming about the day to come, day by day as a march I have to live with in the moment.
Last morning a little bird flew into my kitchen and stopped for a while on my table ,and after a second it flew away .
I saw in it as good omen:life was back to me again and freedom too.
One of the best news from here is that since some days I could fly not only with my mind and fantasy only, as I did during the quarantine, but now even by plane, yes as Florence airport is working again and this a wonderful reality I wish to share.
My message for you is this one :yes, we can: we can hope all the sorrow and the pain of these last weeks will be replaced with a special,unknown peace of mind and a great happiness because since now on every step we take will be a brand new one, full of positive energy,as a new re-birth as in the Renaissance, that was born just born here, in Florence, in Tuscany.
So from Pistoia, a small town rich in arts and history, comes a voice after the lockdown , my voice , to tell you: never give up, trust me, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel and it will be simply fantastic and since then on you will appreciate every single, simple things in life feeling so fortunate to be a survivor.
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