I hate that I’m not in Italy right now. I hate that the small amount of revenue Wandering Italy creates has plummeted to near zero. I hate COVID-19, wherever it has come from. There’s a lot now to hate—but, like Ansel Adams once said about missing a chance for a great picture, “It’s like lost love. You can think about it all you like, but it won’t do you any good.”
I’d rather think about the sudden lurch toward sanity. Yes, sanity. Suddenly, the “demand side economics” is being given a closer look after having been banished from the heads of the small-minded for over 50 years. Suddenly the people matter.
Giant corporations reveal their sloth-like behavior developed over that same number of years. They spent their wad on stock buybacks, they hid money overseas on little islands. So when crunch time came they lined up for their government handouts. The legendary pink Cadillacs turned into executive Maseratis while we weren’t looking.
Have you heard on one about the valves? When the town of Brescia, a coronavirus hotspot, found themselves short of valves used in coronavirus treatments, they couldn’t wait for a sloth. So some guy from a start up comes over with a 3-D printer and makes them what they need on the spot! Hurray for small!
Here’s something else I like. Italians love music. So every evening there’s a big public serenade in many towns and villages. You can join. You play what you found in the closet.
You can become part of this while you are home bound by following a couple who’ve recently transplanted themselves from the US to Soriano in Italy. They author Little Roads Europe Guide and are both accomplished musicians. Each evening they broadcast their little concert from their terrace. Here’s a sample. It’s nice to know that Italians can have a couple of Americans in their midst they can call real assets to their community.
Ain’t the internet something? People are starting to leverage it so that you can not only have a virtual visit, but a virtual cooking class, for example. The sublime Divina Cucina offers a series you can subscribe to. Imagine, you can support a person who has lost her income for a few coins a month. Grab a glass of vino and cook along with Judy.
Speaking of famous chefs, did you know that Gucci Osteria’s Massimo Bottura is offering free virtual cooking classes on Instagram”?
You can help out those clever people who offer a personal entry into the world Italians have built. You can keep our friends over at Gusto Wine Tours happy by purchasing gift certificates good for two years. Then take a tour when things are settled. See: Corona Virus: A way you can help us survive!.
And finally: The Uffizi in Florence is bringing the museum to you:
Every day the Uffizi’s Instagram and Twitter will publish photos, stories and videos of different artworks, including from Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. — Uffizi Decameron: a daily dose of art while museums closed
There are many ways to wait productively for our time in Italy. We stream Italian movies and television shows to jack up our Italian skills, we keep in touch with our friends on the boot, and we think often our Italian neighbors.
I leave you with a little something from my friend Guido, taken from his first blog post, Coronavirus: April is the Cruelest Month
What if, through some miracle, The People and the earth that supports them wove their collective way back into the brains of the powerful through this virus? What if the internet companies were forced to lay that fiber optic cable the width of a human hair to access the unlimited bandwidth of our connections? What if the ludicrous idea of creating false shortages to promote a narrative of scarcity was banished, and the building of new connections, with the equipment and the engineering jobs created as a result brought us into a new age of prosperity and well-being. What if we, The People were once again the focus of our government?
The world is changing, my friends. What a ride it’s gonna be!