The independent London newspaper

So many people are dying in my hometown of Bergamo, please adjust before it is too late

Translator explains Italian lockdown: Sounds of the ambulances stops our rest - we are in a living hell

23 March, 2020 — By Ilaria Castelli

Bergamo residents follow social distancing rules in a supermarket queue 

Ilaria Castelli, a translator and writer who lives in West Hampstead, is in Bergamo, northern Italy, where she is currently in isolation with her family and dog, Zelda.

A WAR is going on, and we are fighting an invisible enemy that is taking away the lives of our people.

My lovely country, Italy, has been devastated by the virus. In just one day almost 800 people died.

Bergamo, my home town, has the most equipped hospital in the country – but Coronavirus has made impossible to find the resources for everybody, so many people are dying at home.

Eco di Bergamo, our daily local paper, has 12 pages with names of people who have passed away. Coronavirus has made funerals impossible, so there is no last goodbye for people losing someone in their family.

Ilaria Castelli and Zelda

The sound of the ambulances suppresses our rest. My people are living in a hell. It is such a scary feeling, because life has suddenly changed. We are allowed out only if we carry a certificate created by the Government, which must be printed and signed, and is legally binding.

The house is the only safe place actually. More than ever it is important to make the most of this time at home. It is something that is missing due to the demands of frantic modern life.

This is a time of rest, where we can concentrate on our family or some passions. We must be patient. This is the only way to get our life back on track.

Although our lives won’t get back to normal straight away, we all must make a serious effort in order to prevent further negative effects. We can fight and win against Coronavirus.


It is not a question of age, gender, where one lives, because Coronavirus doesn’t care about all of it.

Since the first cases in China, it is still in control, deciding for our lives.

The virus changed our vision and our priorities. Maybe it’s a way for nature to tell the human race that what we have done to the earth is wrong, and the price to pay is the life of innocent people. This is really sad.

Right now it is essential to respect some rules, in order to STOP this pandemic. If we follow the guidelines to avoid the contagion, we can get our lives back.

We must be patience and adopt resilience. We must stay together and strong. Human beings have a wonderful ability to adapt. This is the moment where we must show ourselves that we can work collectively and adjust our habits to solve this terrible situation and destroy the virus.

“Everything will be fine” – banners of hope are hanging from balconies around the town 

When all this odyssey will end, the first hug that we will share will be memorable. Maybe this will be the most beautiful human contact we had in such a long time. Together we can win this war, but only if everyone plays their part.

Share this story

Post a comment