Lombardy is a densely populated area in North Italy with about 10 million inhabitants. On February 16, 2020, a 38 year old Italian man went to the hospital of Codogno, a small town not far from Milano, reporting respiratory problems: this was the first case of COVID-19 registered in Italy.
On March 8, Lombardy was put under lockdown, which did not prevent a first, devastating wave of cases. In those months, my city, Milano, was filled with a deep sense of community, quarantined people were chanting together “don’t give up” from their balconies to lift their spirits as the pandemic was growing. COVID-19 cases started to decline in May 2020. The government allowed for freedom of movement and launched botched plans to rescue the Italian economy. Meanwhile, throughout all summer and later in autumn, the authorities completely missed their opportunity to convey appropriate messages to raise awareness and promote responsible behaviors. As a result, at the end of September 2020 the virus regained strength.
This was the start of the second wave. For many an unavoidable event, perhaps ignoring that beyond the so-called “western democracies,” the evolution of the spread had followed a totally different path. As of December 20, 2020, at the time of my writing this, the death toll of Lombardy has reached 24,622 fatalities.
On October 25, as the pandemic was creeping back, I gathered my camera and went to the Monumentale Cemetery of Milan. I had been in that place several times, I knew it was a site filled with beauty and I wanted to experience that beauty amidst this special time. My experience on that very day was extraordinary, I was literally blown away by the poignant sense of humanity that people at the cemetery had been able to convey to me.
Ever since then, I’ve returned any time I could, to live new experiences and enjoy fortuitous encounters. This gallery contains some of the photographs I’ve taken in those intense moments of real life.