Fundraisers and balcony singalongs: How Italians are rallying together amid the coronavirus crisis

Fundraisers and balcony singalongs: How Italians are rallying together amid the coronavirus crisis
A child hangs a drawing reading "tutto andrà bene" ("everything will be alright") outside in the town of Manta, northern Italy, on Thursday. Photo: Marco Bertorelli/AFP
People across Italy have been rallying to keep each others' spirits up as the whole country gets used to life under quarantine.

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.

READ ALSO: 'Stay at home': Italy's new coronavirus quarantine rules explained

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.

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.

An appeal has also been circulated on WhatsApp groups calling on Italians to play instruments at their windows at 6pm on Friday. 
 
“For those few minutes, our country will become a huge free concert!” the message said.
 
Another message is encouraging people to sing specific songs on certain days.
 
Meanwhile on Thursday, many families with children home from school made banners bearing the phrase andrà tutto bene (“everything will be alright”) and hung them from windows and balconies.

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.”

READ ALSO: 

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.

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


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  1. I love Italy and many people ask why, one of the many reasons, is the people. Is it any wonder when you read this article?

    We were supposed to go on holiday there again in May, sadly it will not be happening.

    I wish beautiful Italy and its citizens a speedy recovery.

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