Dear Italy: Leave the Light On For Us

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Dear Italy,

Leave the light on for us.

We’ve seen the photos — of empty museums and stocked shelves and and blue skies.

We believe you when you say that life goes on. We know that things are mostly normal almost everywhere.

Leave the light on for us.

Believe us when we say yes, we too would like to see you without the crowds. Ironically, our absence is the reason those lines are short and those museums are empty.

We know you miss us and want us to come. And we will come. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next week. But we will come.

Leave the ticket windows open for us.

Leave us a seat at the table.

We know you are amazing and we know what we are missing.

We realize that media coverage may be overblown. We are upset about the advisories against you.

Plans are up in the air while planes are grounded. It seems unfair to both of us.

We are in shock.

We are worried about you.

We mourn your losses and we are praying for your sick.

The word “quarantine” originated in 14th Century Venice. Forty days of isolation for ship passengers during the time of the plague.

Forty days of Lent. The Christian season of sacrifice began almost exactly on the day this hysteria began.

It is such a weird coincidence. This is not the sacrifice we had in mind.

We want you to be well.

We want to give you time to heal. But we also need to make sure that we are well. What if you recover and we unknowingly bring a new wave of sickness to you?

No one knows what they are doing.

But we do know that we will be back as soon as we can. And you will be as spectacular as ever.


Every Italophile I Know

Melanie Renzulli
Melanie Renzulli

Melanie Renzulli has been writing about Italy for more than 25 years.