From organising fundraisers for hospitals and getting groups of volunteers together to help the elderly to starting impromptu singalongs with neighbours from their balconies, Italians are banding together to fight the coronavirus outbreak and keep spirits high – despite having to spend much of the day indoors under quarantine.
Streets have been eerily quiet across Italian towns and cities, particularly at night, under the new restrictions.
One night of silence on Wednesday proved more than enough for some residents of the Tuscan town of Siena, who by Thursday night were singing a harmony from their windows to liven things up.
A Siena, città alla quale sono molto legato, si sta in casa ma si canta insieme come se si fosse per la strada. Mi sono commosso pic.twitter.com/IDPqNEj3h3
— David Allegranti (@davidallegranti) March 12, 2020
Residents of one street in Turin danced the macarena from their balconies.
More singalongs are expected on Friday night, and a “musical flashmob” has even been advertised in Rome.
Tonight: “sound flashmob” inviting Romans to break the unusual silence and sing, play, shout from their windows and balconies at 6pm.
— Jessica Phelan (@JessicaLPhelan) March 13, 2020
Other efforts have focused on fundraising, particularly to support hospitals in southern Italy who are now racing against time to prepare for potential outbreaks in poorer regions.
One appeal to fund equipment for a hospital in Sicily had raised more than 50,000 on Friday.
“We want to do something truly effective to help the Sant'Antonio Abate hospital in Trapani,” wrote the organisers, who specified that funds raised would be used to buy ventilators for the hospital and, if they raise enough, “other equipment such as masks, gloves and protective medical suits.”
“We'll be able to lend a hand to doctors and especially patients in serious conditions in a place where there are really few beds in intensive care,” they wrote, adding that Trapani hospital has only three assisted ventilation devices, and that “hospitals in Sicily have very few intensive care beds.”
Most of the donations to the appeal seemed to be coming from Italians, in Sicily and beyond.
“Solidarity is a constitutional civic duty,” wrote one donor on the Gofundme page. “Today we're doing it for others, but tomorrow we may need it ourselves.”
In Naples, a similar appeal made by a 23-year-old medical student to help a hospital in Naples has raised more than €500,000 so far for medical equipment.
The fundraising appeals are not only being made in southern Italy, but across the country.
Another appeal was set up in the Tuscan city of Pisa, which was nearing the €14,000 mark on Friday.
“Covid-19 has also arrived in Pisa and our doctors, nurses and health workers are doing everything in their power to better treat infected people,” read the appeal for help for the city's intensive care units.
“Everyone, in our small way, even if we have to stay at home for some time, can really give great support to those who are on the front lines in hospitals,” the organisers wrote.
One supporter of the campaign based abroad wrote in English: “Reading the news from my beloved Italy these days is very worrying but through this fundraiser we can actually do something.”
With more hospital fundraisers being set up in Italy by the hour, anyone wanting to donate can search for a campaign in their area on Gofundme or other crowdfunding websites.
Some hospitals are also launching their own official fundrasing campaigns, such as Rome's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases.
Ognuno può dare il suo contributo con una donazione, piccola o grande ma sempre fondamentale.
— Salute Lazio (@SaluteLazio) March 12, 2020
The italian Red Cross are delivering food and medicine to anyone in the country who needs it, and you can donate to support their efforts here.
Meanwhile many people in towns and cities across Italy have also set up groups of volunteers taking food and medicine to the elderly, after the government said all those aged over 75 must stay indoors as a precaution.
Find all The Local's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy here.