Angelo Crocicchia would like to be in his home during the coronavirus pandemic, but the Italian government’s current travel restrictions make that impossible. “I don’t have the authorization,” Crocicchia said. “If I try to leave the police stop me.”
Crocicchia is a student at Roma Tre University, he also has a job at IES, a study abroad program, where he lives in an apartment in Central Rome’s Prati district with American students as an Italian Student Companion.
This is where he was on March 12th when the Italian government instituted a lockdown for the entire nation, in an effort to keep the virus from spreading too quickly beyond major cities. “Last week the government said nobody can leave the city,” Crocicchia said.
That means that despite his home in Capena being only 20 miles north of Rome, he needs to stay in his apartment in Rome, because of this, he does not know when he will see his family again.
“We are waiting that the situation will be better and that the government say that it’s okay you can go back in your town with your family but for now we have to stay lockdown here,” Crocicchia said.
While the social distancing measures in the United States are currently a cause for controversy, in Italy measures to keep people inside have been far stricter. Caterina Rossi also lives in Rome, and for her simply going outside is a difficult process.
“You can go out only to go grocery shopping or strict necessities, like going to the doctors or going to take care of your old parents, but you have to have with you a sort of certification,” Rossi said.
This certification needs to state where you live as well as your end destination. Being too far from either of these two locations can come with a big penalty. “Our police patrols all around the city in Italy. They will stop you and ask you ‘why are you moving?’” Rossi said. “In case you are stating something that is not true you can be fined. It’s from 400 Euros to 3000 Euros and there is also jail.”
Even with the potential of jail time, not every Italian has adhered to the restrictions. “There are still people going to the park even if it’s not allowed to go to the park and most of Roman public parks are closed,” Rossi said. “Sometimes the bad aspect of being Italian is that ‘I’m Italian nothing bad will happen to me I’m bold,’ these stupid things.”
Coronavirus deaths in Italy have been on a steady decline for the past month, and with that comes the impending return to normal life. However, coronavirus could potentially change the definition of normality in Italy going forward.
“Even if we will be able to go out again, maybe we will be afraid of other people, we will be afraid of hugging people, can you imagine that for us Italians?” Rossi said.
It is possible elements of Italian culture could be changed due to the strict lockdown, and the lasting impact will be made clear in the coming months as Italy reopens.