At the beginning of 2020 Italy was one of the countries that was hardest hit by the pandemic. A tsunami of infections and patients which has swamped the health system, with the very real risk that it could completely collapse.

In the face of this unprecedented emergency, Italy responded rapidly, with great solidarity and with that typical Italian creativity. And it did it despite the bureaucratic issues, thinking about the present, but also the future and the steps required for reopening the economy.

Many of those companies which remained operational intensified the production of goods, like alcohol sanitiser, which suddenly became vital, by organising 24-hour shift patterns to ensure there were enough supplies.

Others quickly converted their production lines (often dedicated to haute couture garments) to make masks and personal protective equipment such as overalls, gloves and overshoes, absolutely crucial for enabling health personnel to work safely. Startups and research centres joined forces to use 3D-printing machines to rapidly produce devices that hospitals were running short of, such as masks for lung ventilators created by modifying a snorkelling mask.

This truly collective effort, which was reminiscent of that of people in many countries during the two world wars, has made a vital contribution to containing the Coronavirus epidemic and has saved a number of lives that it will never be possible to quantify.

Cinema Centrale, Turin. Gaetano Renda, owner of the cinema, pictured with his daughter Cristina Renda, who works part time at the cinema and is also a theatre actor.

One of San Marino’s numerous shops specialized in Airsoft weapons: these are very popular with Airsoft enthusiasts because of their competitive prices. Although the local government has allowed them to open to the public, these commercial activities have taken heavy hits to their earnings due to the measures introduced by the Conte government in Italy which banned travel to San Marino from neighbouring Italian regions.

At Pentaferte in Teramo, in Abruzzo, all phases in the production of syringes take place in contamination-controlled environments. The factory is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and is being transformed in order to meet global demand for medical production and to comply with the most stringent certifications.

Meta, Campania, 31 October, 2020. Giovanni at work to complete the floral arrangements in the cemetery in view of the "Commemoration of the Dead.”

Chandra, a barber originally from Bangladesh, cuts a customer’s hair for the first time since the reopening of barber shops, hairdressers and beauty salons after the lockdown.

Pila, Valle d'Aosta. The owner of the Hotel Della Nuova in an empty room. “I am worried. If the ski lifts take any longer to reopen, we will be forced to stay closed for the rest of the season as we won’t be able to pay any of the expenses.”

A waitress serves beer at the Tower Drive-In in Pontinia (Lazio). Seeing as it is no longer possible to enjoy traditional forms of entertainment, because of the ban on gatherings, new strategies have been adopted. Consequently, drive-ins have experienced a renaissance.

The Vatican Museums on the day before the closure established by the Ministerial Decree (DPCM) issued on November 4, 2020 to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

14 November 2020. Two Italo-Brazilian sisters who work as trapeze artists for a circus in Misterbianco, Sicily, which stopped operating during the pandemic. They are in the external area of a shopping centre, which stayed open.

Teatro Gobetti, part of the Teatro Stabile circuit in Turin.

Meta, Campania, 1st November 2020 – Temperature checks at the entrance to the cemetery during the "Commemoration of the Dead.”

Vincenzo carrying out some small repair jobs around a votive shrine in Rione Sanità, one of the areas that has suffered the highest number of Covid-19 infections in Naples.

A member of staff sanitizes facilities aboard the MSC Grandiosa cruise ship.

Naples, 20 November, 2020 - The burial of a man (who died of Covid) in the Jewish cemetery. Due to the regulations to stop the spread of the pandemic, only two relatives were able to attend the ceremony.

The production facility of Bormioli Pharma in Vasto, Abruzzo. In order to produce rubber stoppers for vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, sheets of rubber are pressed using a process of vulcanisation and are then cut into smaller sheets.

A technician from the Sol company in Mantova checks the pipes in the machine room. Sol is one of Italy’s main producers of oxygen, the demand for which has increased dramatically during the emergency.

Modou Gueye with Maddalena and other members of the Sunugal socio-cultural association. The association was set up as a network for immigrants in Italy whose families have remained in Senegal and has its headquarters at the Casottello farmhouse on the outskirts of Milan, where there is also a restaurant. Since the Coronavirus emergency began, both have closed and members have been spending their time fixing up the premises and preparing the garden for the summer season.

The staff at an undertaker’s in Nocera Inferiore (near Salerno) prepare for a funeral. Although the deceased is not a victim of the virus, they are obliged to wear PPE.

Distancing and safety precautions are observed at the GDA marble quarries in Massa in the Apuan Alps. The white marble of Carrara is one of the most prized varieties in the world, and the quarries have never stopped working.

Milan, in an empty lecture hall at the Polytechnic University, Alberto Taliercio, a professor of Construction Science, holds an internet class for second-year Civil Engineering students.

Albaredo per San Marco (near Sondrio), is one of the so-called “zero Covid” villages, where not a single case of infection has been recorded. Eugenia Mazzoni, aged 86, helps out her sons Eugenio and Isidoro in their cowshed.

Personnel at work on an asphalting and bridge maintenance site along the Milan-Venice motorway near Verona, on the westbound carriageway (which heads towards Milan).

Restoration of the Assumption of the Virgin and Saints, a painting from Sandro Botticelli's studio, in the Open Care workshops in Milan. Italian restoration, thanks to its strong tradition and the use of advanced technologies, is an internationally recognised example of excellence. At the end of the restoration, the work will return to the Pilotta Museum Complex in Parma.

Florence, the central wholesale fruit & veg market. Every day, during lockdown, the areas where the market was in operation the night before are fully decontaminated.

Milan. The governor of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, coordinates the Coronavirus task force.

In Sesto San Giovanni (near Milan), an employee prepares oxygen at the facility of Vivisol, the Sol Group company specialised in homecare health assistance.

At the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, builders work on a new Covid-19 IC unit which was paid for by a public fund-raising campaign.

At the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, model Anne Christensen giving birth to a baby daughter, Audrey. Her partner Iaki Calcagnile (a cook) and the midwife are also present.

The Scotti farm in Mediglia, near Milan, is vast and for this reason farm labourers use bicycles to get from one field to another.

Maria Donata with her puppy dog Rosy. Maria’s veterinary clinic has been active for 25 years in Latina and during the emergency she has carried on taking care of the animals in the neighbourhood.

Castelfidardo (near Ancona). A film crew from a local station, ETV Marche, during an interview with Maria Elisa Scataglini, CEO of Scataglini Tessuti, a company which has quickly converted its production line in order to manufacture face masks.

Municipal police at a checkpoint at the Nocera Inferiore (near Salerno) motorway exit.

Matteo Duca sews face masks at his tailor’s shop in Ancona.

The storeroom of the Antica Distilleria Russo in Mercato San Severino (near Salerno). Many workers have been transferred from the production of distilled spirits to the production line for bottling alcohol: but extra staff have been hired in order to meet demand. The factory operates 24 hours a day and the storeroom, even though the products are shipped immediately, is always completely full.

Marika Garganese, a member of the MondoDonna association, with a Nigerian guest and her daughter. MondoDonna takes care of women, many of whom are victims of violence, and minors.

The preparation of a webinar at the iGuzzini lighting company in Recanati (near Macerata). Webinars, videoconferences and online meetings are tools that allow many companies to communicate remotely with customers and partners.

Work resumes at Moroso, a furniture company in Udine, after an upgrade of the safety measures at the factory.

At the premises of Sapio in Caponago, near Milan, an employee checks the vaporisation systems for the gasification of the liquid oxygen.

Genoa. Nurse Francesca Simonetta, who just finished her shift in the high-infection risk patient ward, is in the complex process of removing her PPE on board the MV Splendid, which has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital.

Monte San Giusto (near Macerata). Staff at Fabi at work sewing face masks. Fabi is one of many companies which have quickly converted their production line in order to manufacture face masks.

End of day cleaning at the fish market in Venice. The city, which bases a large part of its economy on tourism, has suffered heavily from the consequences of the epidemic.

In Lodi, the Zucchetti company is developing Z-Care, an open source software that enables hospitals to monitor the condition of non-Covid patients being treated in their own homes. This frees up beds for Covid patients in hospitals. Only three programmers continue to work onsite at the company, while 900 of their colleagues are working from home.

Milan, building workers have lunch in the trade fair area, where the new Covid hospital coordinated by the Lombardy Region is being built.

Osimo (near Ancona). A piece of ultramicrofibre is prepared for making face masks at the Galassi company.

Piacenza, the field hospital built by the Italian Army.

An employee from the Proverbio Service company in Cava De’ Tirreni (near Salerno) deep-cleaning a veterinary clinic.

San Cipriano Picentino (near Salerno). Teresa Tastardi is a young single mother with two girls, aged 8 and 11. She works as a shop assistant in a supermarket, and in order to guarantee her children’s safety, she sent them to live with their grandmother. Before going home, she buys some groceries in a small shop near her house.

Castelfidardo (near Ancona). Pierfrancesco Scataglini tries out face masks on a mannequin. Scataglini is one of many companies which have quickly converted their production line in order to manufacture face masks.

The Ataf depot, Florence, the municipal public transport company. Every public transport vehicle is decontaminated before leaving the garage to go into service. During lockdown the last buses completed their routes and returned to the depot at 9.30 pm, at which point a further decontamination process was undertaken in preparation for the following day.

The Proverbio Service of Cava De' Tirreni (near Salerno) carries out chlorine sanitisation at a paper recycling company. In many facilities the frequency with which such operations are carried out has increased. Often it has gone from once – to three times – a week.

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