Dear all,

I was wandering through the streets yesterday, because I thought it was time again to venture outside. I chose a perfect time of the day. A time of the day when hardly anybody was around, right after lunch. The streets were quiet, few cars, few people. In this way I could enjoy Cittadella and not have to worry about keeping distance.

I could breathe in some fresh air and marvel at all the green around me, because the last time I had been for a walk outside before restrictions on the lockdown had started to loosen up, could be traced back to the beginning of March, when everything still had to go into full bloom and most trees had been rather empty, atlhough nothing stops fully from blooming in Italy. The winters are too mild. Yet, the green trees surrounding me now were a sight I had not seen before. My first spring in Cittadella and what a weird one it was.

I turned back into the centre of the city, on my way back home and passed by closed shops. Naturally shops are closed this time of the day, but some of them looked particularly dark and gloomy. One of the shops had its doors opened however, only slightly. There was a note on the door that said that if customers wanted to pick up some new clothes they had ordered online, the shop would be open during the quietest moments of the day. I peeked inside and saw the owner sitting on a stool in a shop full of clothes and devoid of people, staring at the floor, hands on her lap, accepting that very likely nobody would come today.

It hit me that even after this period, even when shops are allowed to open entirely again, for some time, maybe a year, maybe five, the city would not be in full bloom. Spring would be delayed, and for some it would never return.

I’m not the one to support consumerism, not being a big fan of the concept, but if you were ever planning to return to Italy, then do me one small favour; do not buy anything from big companies, big chains of stores, but invest something in the small local shops instead. Otherwise, I’m not even so sure Italy will ever be able to come back from this.

From Italy with love,

Merel