As one of the hardest-hit countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy has been finding new ways to stay positive during the outbreak. Between sharing messages of love, and singing and dancing on their balconies, locals are still finding a reason to keep smiling. For one Canadian abroad who has been in Italy since January, these little acts of kindness mean more than anything.
When 24-year-old Miranda Gallo headed to the Italian city of Turin back in January, she had no idea what was ahead.
While Gallo had moved internationally to follow a Master's program, she had only been in the country for a number of weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak put her classes on hold, and she found herself on lockdown inside the city.
Speaking to Narcity, Gallo explained, “In such an environment, when you could be arrested for 3-12 years for leaving your house, it can be easy to get distressed and feel lonely.”
Fortunately for Gallo, she’d met some wonderful friends during the quarantine period, and they were on-hand with a CD player when she needed it the most.
In a video that was later shared on Facebook, an elderly Italian couple can be seen standing on their balconies, blasting a very familiar and comforting song.
“I couldn’t believe that this 70-something-year-old Italian man had an instrumental to Oh Canada on CD!” Gallo said.
"I started to sing and, though I’m not one for big public displays of nationalism, in that moment I thought I was going to cry."
Gallo, who can be seen singing in the video, was encouraged by her neighbours to keep repeating the song.
“Towards the end, everyone in my neighborhood started flooding to their balconies … Everyone was cheering me on. It was so touching.”
Since the quarantine began in Italy, Gallo explained that locals have been gathering on their balconies every evening, chatting, singing, dancing, playing music and clanging pots and pans.
Fortunately for the young student, an opening to leave the lockdown came up on Monday, and she has been able to start making her way back home to Montreal.
"It's been an emotional journey to say the least," the singer explained to Narcity.
Despite the lonely and scary situation she found herself in, the kindness from her Italian neighbours will be her lasting memory.
"I will never forget this," she said.
“In retrospect the whole thing potentially seems a little corny,” she said.
“But in that moment, when I did not have much human interaction and I felt isolated abroad in a foreign country, that was something REALLY special.”