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‘My street came alive’: Rome sings anthem from balconies during lockdown

Residents spoke of the ‘solidarity in expression’ they felt as music broke out across the country.

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People gather on their balconies in Rome to sing the national anthem during the coronavirus lockdown (Yemi Adeyeye)

People gather on their balconies in Rome to sing the national anthem during the coronavirus lockdown (Yemi Adeyeye)

People gather on their balconies in Rome to sing the national anthem during the coronavirus lockdown (Yemi Adeyeye)

People in Rome congregated on their balconies to sing the Italian national anthem during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the three weeks since the country identified its first virus cluster, Italy has passed 17,000 confirmed cases, with more than 1,200 deaths, and the government has ordered an unprecedented lockdown, ordering businesses to close and restricting movement.

But residents showed solidarity by singing and playing music from their homes to one another, as well as belting out the national anthem.

“I received a circulating message, forwarded to me by a friend… which is basically encouraging Italians to participate in a kind of flash mob on Friday 13 at 6pm,” said Rome resident Yemi Adeyeye.

“My street came alive at that time. It was a euphoric moment,” the 32-year-old told the PA news agency.

The idea reportedly started on social media, with musicians around the country proposing to sing the national anthem on Friday evening.

For Mehmet, 26, living in the capital, the experience was an emotional one.

“It was super emotional for me,” he said. “Because now I live alone in Rome and that’s not easy when you’re under quarantine.”

Mehmet said other songs will be sung each day, and others agreed that the outpouring of music was important in showing unity.

Jessica Phelan, 34, from St Albans, has lived in Rome for two and a half years, and witnessed her neighbours singing.

“It was very friendly – people were waving, saying ciao, calling out ‘a domani’ (see you tomorrow) afterwards,” she said.

“I think it shows that people will continue to seek community, even if they can’t socialise – it’s a way to say we’re all in it together.”

Videos on social media also showed communities across the country playing music for one another on instruments as the country remained on lockdown.

PA