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We’ll remember 2020 as the year of the pandemic. But, more than anything, we’ll remember it as the year in which everything changed: our way of living, our habits, our values system. The meaning of words also changed: until just recently many words were used and often abused until they sounded almost meaningless, like empty mantras. And yet, during the months of lockdown, and those that followed, as things started opening up again, they took on a new, deeply profound meaning: sustainability, social inclusion, circular economy, solidarity. And others: mindfulness, disruption, innovation, digitalisation, resilience.

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Every crisis contains a seed of opportunity. The pandemic has forced humanity to pay a heavy price, but it has also forced it to make radical changes, to quickly transform the concepts expressed by those mantras into concrete actions: the future will tell us to what extent we’ve been able to grasp the opportunities offered by this crisis to permanently improve our society and the planet we live on.

However, the present has already told us something about our country, Italy. As has always been the case in moments of need, we have seen it play its ace cards: its unrivalled creativity, flexibility and its ability to react. Despite the lockdown, we have seen it continue to produce and work so as to guarantee essential services, while health workers have given absolutely everything in the hospitals.

Right from the very early stages of the pandemic until today, our photojournalists have been following it every day: daily reports of a country hit hard in a way few other countries were, but that was able to roll up its sleeves and tackle the emergency in a way that few others were capable of. And then came the recovery, the vaccine campaign and the transformations that the pandemic has brought to our society and our lives.

With CoviDiaries we have brought this story to life. It’s intended to be a tribute, but above all a memento: so as not to forget what we were able to be, what we are and what we have the opportunity to become in the future. Because, in the words of a Chinese proverb, when the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Recessional, Rudyard Kipling, 1897



Prior to the Covid-19 emergency, we had never been so aware of the passing of time, of the succession of hours marked by daily press briefings, by infection and hospitalisation updates, by the counting of the days and weeks spent cooped up in our homes. Each of those days between February and June 2020 represented a milestone on a collective journey: we’ve chosen a symbolic image for every single one of them. A visual diary, a feature film boiled down to its essential frames, an album of memories.


Thirteen narratives recounted by the voices, faces and events which became symbols of the months of the epidemic in Italy: amid the suffering and then during the recovery, each is a story of courage and of hope. Thirteen chapters of a collective account through which we see the very best of Italy.


The epidemic started in Lombardy in February 2020 and quickly spread across most of northern Italy before extending down to the central regions and the south, evolving in many different ways from region to region. Click to read the stories and see the images relating to each of Italy’s regions.




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