“Dopo la guerra c’era una voglia di ballare che faceva luce”
“After the war there was a desire to dance that shed light”
— Francesco Guccini
Milan is an innovative city open to new expressive forms and trends, and its monuments, works of art, and buildings have always reflected different and varied architectural styles. But never have its windows and balconies, even the most basic, been as important or beautiful as during the months of the Coronavirus crisis. milan lockdown pandemia coronavirus
As the images in this gallery show, three little words: “Andrà tutto bene (“Everything will be alright “) became the spiritual leitmotif of an entire nation, and was observed from the balconies and windows of Milan and across Italy. milan lockdown pandemia coronavirus
Overnight in March of 2020, people across Italy found themselves prisoners inside their houses and apartments. They were thus forced to employ all of the innate and extraordinary creative capacity the Italians are known for to stay united, communicate with each other, provide encouragement to the sick, and thank the caregivers in the hospitals.
Covid-19 is a virus that puts people’s souls to the test. Neighbors who until those days had always greeted each other in a formal and indifferent way began to socialize across their balconies. Now instead of taking place at the local bar, the traditional rite of the “aperitif” (a nightly tradition in Italy of enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail hour with friends) began to be held on balconies or over video calls. During one of these days, people began singing the national anthem from the balconies, and then they began to play their instruments. Pianos, trumpets, violins, lyrical songs, saxophones,and electric guitars crisscrossed their sounds in the air. Another day, from a window above the bar where I have the frequent and pleasant habit of drinking ristretto but that was closed due to the lockdown, the melodious sound of Antonio’s sax flowed down. None of us had heard him play before, and Antonio agreed to come down and pose for photographs.
Invitations to participate in flash mobs of encouragement circulated on social networks and on WhatsApp: “Open the window, go to your balconies and shout in chorus” ‘Milan will return’ 10 times!”’.
The peak of this movement undoubtedly occurred on April 25, the date on which the liberation from fascism is celebrated in Italy. In a popular neighborhood of the city, I witnessed the moment when at 3:00 pm everyone came out on their balconies and sang the famous “Bella Ciao” folk song in unison. milan lockdown pandemia coronavirus
Music resounded at the tops of the empty streets and social networks were filled with sentimental, humorous or encouraging videos. This spontaneous behavior began to be criticized and stopped, but the flags on the balconies remained and are still seen in many places, as a symbol and an expression against the isolation of covid. milan lockdown pandemia coronavirus
The spontaneous popular movement that united ordinary citizens and famous artists during the months of the lockdown put on display the spirit, resilience and sense of humor of a nation that faced its worst national emergency since World War II. milan lockdown pandemia coronavirus