Andrà Tutto Bene. Italy and the Corona Virus

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Andrà Tutto Bene. It means – Everything is going to be ok. This has become the unofficial response from ordinary Italians to this nationwide and worldwide crisis. These homemade banners have been appearing everywhere.

As of today, we have officially been on nationwide lockdown for a week. These steps have been taken for several reasons. We know that we cannot simply stop the virus, but the hope is that it can be slowed dramatically. Up in the north, in the region of Lombardy in particular, the hospitals were getting close to collapse. The Corona Virus attacks the lungs, and in people with respiratory problems, or other immune system weaknesses, it does not just send them to the hospital, it sends them to the ICU, and the ICU cases rapidly progress to where a respirator is needed. There have been a few heartbreaking stories where doctors were faced with situations where they had more patients than respirators and there were none to be had from anywhere else. It turned into what they described as battlefield triage where they were forced to decide who would get access to the machines. (Side note, this story may have been the source for some disgusting tabloid garbage I have seen going about social media about Italy denying care to people over 65. This is a Catholic nation for heavens sake!!) So the lockdown is a last chance attempt to slow the spread to a manageable rate, and also to try and stop it from racing down to the south of Italy where the percentage of older people is much much higher than in the north and the hospitals are not as well equipped.

How are the Italians reacting to this? Frankly, I am incredibly proud of the country I am now calling home. Overwhelmingly people have taken this calmly. It is kind of spooking seeing the streets so empty though. There has been no panic buying like in the United States. The stores are fully stocked.


I took this photo in the local supermarket, the toilet paper isle. They only let a certain number of people into the store at one time. We line up outside and the security guy sends us in groups of two or three. I waited about ten minutes to get in. The store had maybe about a third of the normal amount of people usually in it.

Come to Abruzzo! We have toilet paper.

This is the produce section. Hard to see, but maybe a dozen people total were in this section. Knowing that there are no shortages in the stores goes a long way to reassure people that they don’t need to panic or horde. Plus there seems to be more of a ‘us’, mentality in Europe than there is in America where so many of the posts seem focused on people taking a how does this affect ‘me’ mentality.


The Italians have faced this crisis with resilience and defiance. A week ago there was a nationwide movement to all go to our balconies and play music or sing. All over Italy people came to their balconies to say and sing in unison. “Yes, we are still here!” 

The rest of the world seems to be about three weeks behind Italy for some reason, Perhaps it is the amount of tourism. The measure of a people is not how they behave in the best of times, but how they deal with the worst of times. 

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Calascio

Rocca Calascio While you may not have heard of Calascio, you have very likely seen its famous Castle (Rocca Calascio) many times in movies. Probably most famous is its appearance in the movie Ladyhawk, and more recently in the Name of the Rose, and of course many many promotional videos encouraging you to visit Italy. Click the image above to open a web site with some amazing drone videos of the castle. If You Go When You Are There Calascio If You Go Getting up to the castle will involve some walking. Unlike American historical places, you will not be able to drive up to within a hundred yards and find a parking lot. In fact, there is not a parking lot at all.  You will first drive to Calscio, winding ever upward on the mountain switchback with stunning vistas all along the way. When you arrive at Calascio you will want to think about parking when you get to this point where the road branches off to Castel del Monte. From the view on the link, the road that is going up (There are some barricades in the picture) is the one you want to take.  When You Are There The dropped pin shows you at the intersection shown in the link in the If You Go tab. Depending on what time of year, and what day of the week, it is possible to drive up the road going up. There are a couple of small parking spots further up. Just for about six or seven cars, but being Italy, people often park wherever.   BUT! It is very narrow, and as it is highly likely you will not find a place to park, turning around is very difficult. If it is a weekend, or you see cars already parked down below, don’t even think about going up.  From the bottom, beginning at the pin, you will climb steadily for about a kilometer before you reach the castle. It is doable, we even saw people pushing  baby strollers.   At the top, you have the freedom to wander the complex as long as you want. There are no fees. If you are interested in a tour, there is an interesting one offered by Majellando it involves a night hike up to the castle with a possibility of a late dinner on the return,    Calascio Calascio itself is a typical small village. It hugs the hillside and has just a couple very very narrow streets going through. There are a few small restaurants in and near.   It is worth taking a stroll through this ancient town, (Click the walk though button to open a Google Street View window) and if you do, you will find a surprising little museum dedicated to the ancient art of jewelry making in Abruzzo. (The Street View beginning view looks up to where the museum and shop are.) Gold and silver jewelry are traditional crafts in Abruzzo, and the owner of the museum makes pieces to sell. He has an amazing collection of old tools and is happy to show you how they were used. He allowed me to take a video of a piece he was  working on.     A Walk Through Calscio Share on facebook Facebook Share on twitter Twitter

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