Thoughts on our 1st week of confinement in Rome

by Simone
Living in Rome during the coronavirus confinement

The situation in Rome

Here we are all confined to our home. Of course, the ones who can – or have to – still work do go to their workplace (except if they can work remotely), but the rest of the population is only allowed to go out for specific reasons: grocery shopping, go to the pharmacy / the post office / the bank / the tobacconist, walk the dog.  In some places, police give fines to people who do not comply, or walk them back to their home…

The announcement of a global confinement in Italy

On the night of the announcement that the whole of Italy would be confined, I think we all felt a wave of anxiety and injustice. Such a brutal decision could only have been motivated by catastrophic data: were we going to die? Were our beloved ones going to die? Would we be able to get enough food? Would people go mad? And of course, the decision to shut down all shops (except food supermarkets), restaurants, bars, etc. – on top of cutting us all from our places of socialization – plunged a fair amount of people into economical misery. Most of them already in precarious situations before the lockdown….

On that night, our neighborhood was seized by a subtle wave of panic. I usually go grocery shopping at night, when the baby’s asleep and the shop empty, as the supermarket across the street is open 24/7. I didn’t think any of it, so once they were in bed, I went to do my usual run to Carrefour. But there was a 200m line queue, starting in front of the supermarket! I gave up that night and went back to my family instead.

Daily life during confinement in Rome

The next day, Alice went to the shop around lunch time. There was only a small line in front of the door, and for a good reason: the shop has to make people respect a 1m distance between every customer. There can therefore only be a set amount of people inside. But once in, nothing seemed much different. People looked a bit frazzled. But no craziness. No empty shelves… except Barilla spaghettis!  Too bad, that’s our favorites too… Some people only came in for a couple items. Others are doing 100€+ groceries. Some people wear masks and gloves, others nothing. Alice was one of the latter category of people, and throughly washed her hands with soap and disinfected the door handles once she came back home.

Today, after a week, everything is the same. Pretty normal. 1m distance. Masks and gloves. No shortage. The spaghettis are even back on.

Being confined in Rome because of covid-19

The way we feel

I am restless. It’s in my blood to live outside, to spend most of my days in the outdoors. The baby is adapting quite well so far, even if letting him go around in the park and take him to his favorite swing would probably be best for his development. Alice is used to stay in, but the anxiety is sometimes building up.

The numbers are bleak. They’re not good. And we know it’s going to get worse before it gets better, but it’s hard to watch the numbers and not be able to do anything about it. Except staying home, which is the only thing we can do.

The sun is shining big time here in Rome, and we would love nothing more than to walk around, bathe in the warmth and live the famous dolce vita of a spring come early. Eat pizza out, have a coffee. Go on aperitivo at the bar. At least believe that it’s almost over. But the streets are empty, they are deserted. On our usually busy boulevard, there is no one going around except to cross the street to the supermarket.

The good thing is that – even if we’re jobless and powerless – we’re together. As a family.

Simone and Cesare as a family

Is travel blogging possible in these Covid days?

I find it hard, writing about hypothetical bucket lists when borders are closed for an indefinite time.

Here’s our very real example: As a family of three currently living in Italy, but with a French residency, our plan was to sell our house here in the bel paese and find the right place to settle in the South of France for when our own life as professional digital nomads doesn’t take us away on business.
But we are stuck… If we leave Italy we won’t be able to come back, and we could be taking a lot of risks and putting others at risks too.
Our stats are telling us that our traffic is going down 70-80%, as for most people working in the tourism industry, no one is searching for vacations. The web these days has only one keyword and you know what I am talking about…

So let’s get real: how do we make this blog survive? Option one, talk about “how to survive the virus as a traveler?” Nope, I am not here to tell you what you can and can’t do in such uncertain times…

Then I guess it leaves option two: start to look ahead. Summer vacations will also probably have to be put on hold, so maybe the only option left is winter, as absurd as it may sound…

What do you guys think?

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