Francesco from Italy: "There is still hope for a better Italy in the future"

Francesco from Italy:
Francesco (first from the left, standing) with brother and parents. (Credit: Francesco Bruno)
Situation in Italy has been extremely dramatic for past weeks. Last days however, Italy shows initial signs of crisis slowing... "There is still hope for a better Italy in the future, less corrupted, more people-centric", says Francesco.

Francesco Bruno was born in Putignano, province of Bari in Italy. For the past 7 years he has been working and studying in the UK. Only for he describes the whole situation through his and his family eyes. What are the biggest lesson we can have from the crisis? How to deal with such an unexpected change of circumstances?

Total number of fatalities in Italy is still the highest in the world. Have you been in touch with your family back home? How do they deal with self-isolation?

- I receive daily news on the situation in Italy which has been dramatic, as the mayor of the city of Bergamo said “we have lost a generation”. It is actually true as we have seen, the virus has been really hitting hard our elders who have a weaker immune system and are unable to recover by themselves. This has been tragic for multiple reasons. The first is that, Italians have a much more stronger relationship between different generations, which is often different to other European countries. Children are often brought up by their grandparents as Italian laws do not allow the mothers and fathers to take conspicuous time off from work.

Myself was brought up by my granny who has been taking care of me since I was 2 years old. This is an incredible uniqueness in our society and is at the foundation of the Italian cultural heritage something that very often it is not understood by people living in other countries. This also includes the breath of the family ramifications, connections and love among the members.

My mother and father are at home spending time watching TV, gardening and making sure they do not need to leave the house except for essential needs such as food. My mother spends time speaking to me and my brother over Skype as she worries about us daily. My dad spends time gardening and watching TV. My granny is healthy and happy in her flat, my mother and my aunts have a certification which allows them to go and take care of my granny as she needs help for food and house cleaning.

Francesco (in the middle) with brother and father. (Credit: Francesco Bruno)

Videos of Italian people singing national anthem from the balconies are becoming viral. What did it teach you about your country? 

- Well, it is very inspirational to see Italians singing the national anthem, I have not seen anything like that in years. Italy has long been divided internally between north and south, but this situation has shown much more patriotism than ever before. The images of people singing together, listening to a singer training on the balcony is something you cannot find anywhere else. There have been videos of nurses and doctors waving the Italian flag while singing the anthem in the hospital and successful individuals such as Giorgio Armani have used their factories to produce masks and donated millions to the Italian health services. The Pope himself celebrated a mass alone in St. Peter’s Square under the rain. All of this show a strong sense of patriotism which is often buried under the internal division, corruption and hatred which often transpire from a country such as Italy.

Situation in your country is slightly getting better. How long until life will come back to normal? Can it actually come back to normal?

- Well, it looks like the PM Conte announced an extension of the quarantine to April 13, but looks like things will show some sense of normalities in May, but I have to admit that great changes will surely happen not only in the lives of each and every Italian, but also in national and international politics. Individuals like institutions will need to be accountable for what has been done and for what has not been done. I am not referring to anyone specifically, but what happens in Italy often has impacts on the larger European community economically, socially and politically.

What are the lessons you got from seeing how people are remaining together and stronger ?

- That there is still hope for a better Italy in the future, less corrupted, more people-centric.

Thank you and may we all stay safe!

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