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How Coronavirus Has Transformed Italy's Urban Spaces

Italy has been hit hard by the pandemic, and slowing the spread of the virus has meant dramatic changes in urban life.
April 3, 2020, 6am PDT | Camille Fink
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Edward Lich

"The past days have seen a dramatic transformation of Italy’s urban space in a time of great tragedy. With the population under orders not to leave home apart from for specific needs, cities and villages have undergone a kind of desertification," writes Rosa Tamborrino.

Italy has seen a shift in about how public spaces are used and accessed, reflected in museums moving online. Social interaction, a central part of Italian life, has also left public spaces, says Tamborrino. For example, the common ritual of the aperitivo, drinks before dinner, in coffeeshops has ended, and people are now organizing online gatherings from their living rooms. 

The typical noise of Italian cities has also taken on a different form, notes Tamborrino. "A new kind of flash mob creates collective actions from people’s windows at scheduled times: to light up Italy, to clap together in honour of doctors and nurses who are working without rest, to play some music, to sing the national hymn or simply to sing a song, together."

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Published on Friday, March 20, 2020 in The Conversation
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