Perhaps it's a cultural thing. At the end of long days, most Italians stroll down to the main piazzi in towns and villages to mingle with their neighbors and families in the evening ritual of passeggiata. When meeting, embraces and kisses on cheeks are exchanged. Even while ignoring stop lights and signs, somehow Italians weave their way past the crush of neighboring vehicles, obeying an unspoken rule of letting each other go ahead without touching vehicles. It's a magical dance--a balance of self-confidence, ego, trust and respect.
This is what astounds me about Italians. Their acceptance of time, love, tragedy, happiness, sadness, la famiglia and things outside their control. They will protest in hopes of change when pushed too far, but they also accept fate and try to do their best in bad situations. Floods, earthquakes, wars, financial crises, extreme heat... they make do with what they have and move on. And for now, their entire country is on lock-down. They accept having to stay at home--only heaven knows for how long.
As a show of spirit and solidarity during the novel coronavirus crisis, Italians have turned to making music and song in their neighborhoods. They are serenading each other not on the piazza, but from their balconies and windows...
Some neighborhoods sing Il Canto degli Italiani, their national anthem, while others sing Volare or Italian pop songs from the sixties. In the south, the tarantella or pizzica music is played with an accordions being played from neighboring balconies and the temp being kept by women beating the tamborello (frame drum with cymbols) or simply banging pot lids together or clapping to make some noise.
One Italian expression says,
"Fosse non possiamo avere tutto, ma noi insieme siamo tutto."
(Perhaps we cannot have everything, but together we are everything.)
I hope we Americans can take on this philosophy as we get deeper into our own cornonavirus crisis.
Here in Bucks County, we just got the word that our entire county is on lock down. For now, Lisa, Lucas and I are safe, we have a well packed pantry, a month's supply of toilet paper and lots of recipes to try and streaming films to watch. Lisa's company ordered everyone to work from home a few days ago and Lucas is home due to a state wide school closure.
When I get a chance, I'll sit on my front porch with my mandolin, Irish whistle or banjo and make some music...
Stay safe and healthy, amici miei.