- In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Italy has been hit especially hard; its death toll and total number of confirmed cases are second only to mainland China.
- Earlier this week, Italy’s Prime Minister mandated a nationwide lockdown, including a “stay at home” policy and a ban on nonessential travel.
- Since the virus hit, people have been posting eerie photos on social media revealing abandoned streets, tourist attractions, and airports.
- “The weirdest thing you hear is the quiet,” an American woman traveling through Italy told Insider.
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As Italy’s death toll climbs, the country is expanding its emergency coronavirus measures. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte instituted a nationwide lockdown, implementing a “stay at home” mandate, banning large gatherings and all nonessential travel, and closing cultural centers.
“The whole of Italy will become a protected zone,” Conte said in TV address on Monday.
As the virus continues to spread and the government amps up safety protocol, people are posting photos online that reveal the “new normal” of living and traveling in the country.
Former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Joe Giudice, who has been living in his native Italy since being deported in October 2019, posted a video to Instagram that revealed completely deserted streets.
Giudice, however, was not feeling sympathetic to those self-quarantining in their homes.
“Literally nobody out here because of this stupid coronavirus, like, it’s ridiculous,” he says in the clip as the camera pans the empty neighborhood. “People are so scared. Unbelievable. Grow a set of cojones.”
Giudice seemed to suggest that his three years of incarceration – he spent 41-months in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges of fraud in 2016 – influenced his attitude towards the country-wide lockdown.
“More people die from Viagra (heart attacks and drug overdose) everyday than this Corona virus,” he captioned the post. “People here are frantic because government is ridiculous with [lock]down!!! Sorry Lock down not for me Never again!!!”
While Giudice may be one of the only people criticizing those in quarantine, he isn’t the only one posting photos of empty streets.
The mother-son duo behind the Instagram account vagabond.it has been posting photos and videos that reveal the effects of the coronavirus panic and new safety measures on the city of Florence.
Susan and her fifteen-year-old son Ari have been traveling around Italy since “before coronavirus was a thing,” Susan told Insider. The two moved out of their home in Connecticut and have been traveling through Italy since the beginning of last year, honing their photography skills and sharing their work online.
While the coronavirus outbreak was an unexpected hurdle in their travel plans, they’ve continued to post photos of their travels – and the empty streets and monuments.
“It’s a challenge that we didn’t expect but one we wanted to face as calmly (and creatively) as possible,” she said.
The effects of the outbreak and resultant new policies, she says, are palpable.
“Since the virus hit, everything’s sort of upside down and backwards,” Susan explained. “The streets are deserted, and instead of the usual foreign languages in the streets, you finally hear Italian again. But the weirdest thing you hear is the quiet.”
Aspiring travel blogger Fiona Tilbury, who lives in Padova in the Veneto region, posted a photo from her recent trip to Venice revealing eerily empty public spaces.
“Wandering a very empty Venice was a strange feeling, I have never been in a city that felt so sad but it was great to see the beauty of the city without so many people around,” she captioned the photo.
“When I went to Venice it was significantly quieter than I had ever experienced before,” she told Insider. “This was very strange to me and almost made me sad in a way, as if I was mourning a city.”
Others are documenting their bizarre travel experiences in the country.
Twitter user @R1anx7, who goes by Rian, posted a photo of empty airline seats from his connecting flight through Bologna.
“On the Ryanair flight to Italy,” he captioned the photo. “All these empty seats wonder why?”
— Rian 💫 (@R1anx7) March 4, 2020
The flight, he told Insider, had approximately twenty people on board, but the airline operated as usual.
Rian even spent the day in Bologna before catching a flight to London. He said that while there was a noticeable police presence around popular attractions, “everyday life” in the city appeared normal.
The airport, however, was a different story.
“You couldn’t see the coronavirus on the streets, but at the airport, it was like going to space or something,” he said.
Twitter user Mike Phipps also shared his unusual travel experience online, posting two photos of himself in a nearly-empty airport.
“This is bananas! What I think a post-apocalyptic world would look like,” he captioned the selfies, hashtagging #Rome, #Italy, and #Alitalia.
— Mike Phipps (@MassimoPippino) March 5, 2020
As of Wednesday morning, the death toll in Italy reached 631, making up just over 14% of the global fatalities from the illness.