Author: Jeannie Marshall

Experiencing Rome’s First Day on Coronavirus Lockdown

I went out on Tuesday morning wondering what a country on lockdown looks like. I live in the un-touristy Garbatella neighbourhood of Rome, where it was sunny and 15 degrees. It wasn’t as quiet as I expected. Oblivious to government directives, the parrots were squawking in the eucalyptus trees and the neighbourhood cats were sunning themselves on the sidewalk. There were people having breakfast at the coffee bar in the piazza. A mechanic was working on a car and blocking the sidewalk—as usual. All the shops that are usually open were open. I bumped into my neighbour Paola and we stood there awkwardly, about a metre between us—the prescribed distance. She was upset because her two sons, both in their 20s, work in Switzerland. What concerned her was the possibility that she or her husband might get sick and her boys wouldn’t be able to enter Italy to be with them. Or her sons might get sick and she wouldn’t be able to go to Switzerland. I told her it was very unlikely that she …