Category Archives: Corona virus

Corona virus 12

143 positive cases in Umbria.

First case in Umbertide! An old man who has been put in isolation. He lived in a casa di riposo or nursing home. Now all the staff, residents and families are quarantined. Had to happen sooner or later I guess. I hope he gets better soon.

The nightly concerts from windows and balconies around Italy continue. It raises the spirits and makes everyone come together. A man named Oliver Clark wrote a very moving tribute…here is just a piece of it…

“You can take away their livelihoods, their cafes, restaurants, theatres and even their beloved football, but nothing it seems can dampen the joy for life of the Italian people.”


Now I’m on my high horse for a bit…Listen to me!! I speak from experience. In reality the US should be thinking of themselves/yourselves! What is it with people there? They/you are all solicitous of us here (thank you…) but don’t you realize that our world will be your world shortly? I just shake my head. I keep trying to tell them/you. Sadly, you are following in the footsteps of Italy. People there are still not taking it seriously. OMG the spring break pictures!! Geez…bring it back to your family and friends! This will result in many more infections 😢. You are a few weeks behind us here. You need to close all venues where people gather. ALL of them. Restaurants, bars, discos. Please people…my friends…self isolate. No restaurants, no bars, no gatherings of any sort. Stay at home. It’s not that hard. And if everyone does it, it “shouldn’t” be that long…We hope…
All my good thoughts! Stay safe 💕

Corona virus 11

107 total cases in Umbria. You can see it jumps exponentially.

I noticed yesterday that my YouTube video was not in the email link to my post. I guess embedded links don’t work in emails.
To see it go to —

The flash mobs are very uplifting for us here.

So they think this will peak in Italy at 92,000 cases next week and then decline.

An interesting fact —- 35 people under 60 died in northern Italy yesterday. The median age of hospitalization this week is 40-49 years. So it is not only the old who are dying.

I had a lovely Skype chat with my niece (thanks Rachel!). She’s a nurse at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. I got some insight into how they are preparing. They have two large areas dedicated to Corona. And I found it interesting that they have their own test for it and it takes 24 hours to get the result. All done in-house. They can test any amount of people as necessary. I wish this could be done more. Anyway, I can’t help but be concerned for her but she will be careful, I’m sure. The nurses and doctors on the front lines are amazing! Stai sicuro Rachel!💕

The Italian Air Force and Pavarotti put on quite the show yesterday. The little plane is the virus. And it is vanquished by the flying “V” – which then release their green, white and red smoke. It was uplifting, and tear inducing…

If you can’t see this go to – it doesn’t always show in the email.


And last…I got to walk outside for a few minutes!! It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining, there’s a brisk cold breeze. We threw away some trash in the piazzetta near us. Everyone in their apartments has their windows open. And I could hear the children screaming. Please shoot me! I’ve got it good. I don’t know how the moms cope. I told Luther, in the two weeks we have left, how many murders will occur?

We walked out and across the bridge over the river. We were making a buy…😀 Perfectly legal! Calagrana has gotten creative and is making meals-to-go. We bought two, fully prepared and scrumptious, dinners! One a curry dinner, the other salmon with chili beans and roast potatoes. A break from cooking. And who knew we’d be resorting to Meals on Wheels!

Here’s a shot of the Tiber. Beautiful color today, and very clear.

Stai attento, listen to the authorities, stay far from crowds and, of course, wash your hands…💕

Corona virus 10

Hard to believe I’ve been posting about this for ten days! The infected count as of last night was 76. It continues to rise. We are all waiting to see it begin to curve back down. Here is the chart I got yesterday so you can see the numbers for all over Italy.

A few thoughts, yesterday, and today, I noticed the amazing silence. I can hear the birds chirping. When I walked to the grocer yesterday, I actually noticed I could hear my own footfalls. They echoed off the walls of the piazza. I was the sole person out. And from our terrace, all I can hear are the birds. I miss the arguing old men downstairs in the Piazza playing Briscola. I even miss the music, bands and discos at the two nearby Bars. I cannot know how hard this must be for the teenagers and their parents cooped up in their houses!
Italy has been keeping up our spirits by having “balcony flash mobs”. It has been fun watching. And a little sniffle producing. Everyone is hanging together in this crisis. 🙂 Forza Italia!


And for my friends and loved ones in the US. Please stay safe. I am keeping up with the most recent news and it does not sound good. Take measures now…
Ciao…and remember…wash your hands!

Corona virus 9 – first death

Pretty big jump today. 64 positive cases in Umbria.
First death. 67 year old man. Musician. Lived in Città di Castello

Città di Castello is a town just north of us. Only about 15 miles. So now we know it is very near. It becomes more real.

Today is Friday. Our intrepid Italian teacher still came to teach us here at our house. Her whole family is home. 3 kids (mostly grown) and a husband. Her husband is a very well known tour guide in Rome. But, as we all know. There are no tours anywhere. And no people allowed out.
Until today, I have felt fairly normal. But it has come home to me. Going out, even for a walk, kind of lets the team down. We are not supposed to go out AT ALL unless absolutely necessary. I heard about a man who was arrested because he foolishly thought he could go to the car wash. 🙄 What was he thinking…

A friend had a nice post today about her mind shift. She had been anxious staying at home. But suddenly, she feels safe. Her casa is her nest. Her cocoon. She feels safe there. I feel the same. My casa in the sky is my eye upon the world. And my safe haven. I have my terrace. I can get fresh air. I uncovered my table and unstacked my chairs. The weather is beautiful, early spring weather with highs in the 60s.

My newly uncovered table on the terazza.

Finally, I had heard all the grocery stores would be closed for the weekend. So, this afternoon, I went out to pick up a few things I am low on. I went to our nearest store. The Gala market. I noted on the door, they are open tomorrow and also Sunday morning. Good to know! I saw a bunch of people standing around the door, everyone keeping about a six foot distance from each other. A woman was passing out numbers and plastic gloves. When someone left the store, she called the next number. So, eventually, I got my shopping done. I did not get near anyone. Ever. I also paid a visit to the farmacia. They have newly installed glass at the counter and they want you to stay a few feet away. They slide your product under the glass. I passed my credit card. They no longer accept cash. The town itself is like a ghost town. I feel very sorry for older folks living alone. No longer able to go out and interact with friends, it must be very lonely for them.
That’s the news from the front!
Stay safe…and wash your hands!

Corona virus 8 — lockdown

46 positive cases in Umbria.
This was yesterday. I’m amazed at how everyone is obeying the 1 meter distance thing. These old guys usually play cards but it’s hard to do that from a distance. I guess they are taking a break. But look how well they observe the distance rules!

Late last night, around 10PM here, Conte announced new stricter lockdown rules. All stores restaurants, bars will be closed. The better to restrict gatherings of people. I immediately lost it. I am always one to be fully prepared…and I had let the all important cat litter run out!
Just about this same time we heard from our friend Vera. She said they’ve been ordered to remain home with windows closed. The entire town is being disinfected between the hours of 11pm and 5am. I asked why. She said Cortona has cases of the virus. Their comune is Cortona. You may remember this town from Under the Tuscan Sun —- the book and movie. This is quite close to us…
So, a new dawn. Under more complete lockdown. We weren’t sure what to expect. We filled out the autocertificazione that we are required to carry, and headed out. Here’s what we found…

Good news…pet stores are considered food stores! So we got food and litter. All is well. Relief. I noted the green grocery stores are open, the fresh pasta shop, the rosticceria with ready made meals, the bakery, the butchers. The regular groceries have lines of people outside waiting their turn. All keeping the meter distance. I also saw the electronic store was open. That one confused me. We went OUT OF OUR COMUNE to buy pellets. (But just a little outside). This is against the rules. The stores selling pellets and firewood are open, a necessity. The worst businesses hurt are the bars and restaurants. You cannot congregate. But we also noticed 2 restaurants with big signs saying they are doing takeaway lunches and dinners! Thinking outside the box. Too bad bars can’t do that. I’m sorry for Bar Mary…and others.

This is the shuttered Bar Mary.😢

After we unloaded our cat litter, and a bunch of pellet for our stufa, I parked the car and paid a visit to our Alimentari downstairs. I was surprised to see he has a table blocking access about midway up the middle of the shop. The proprietor (Angelo) was behind a newly installed glass barrier at the counter. I needed cheese, he held it up (he was about 10 feet away) I said “va bene”. He told me the price. He came near the table and leaned out to leave it for me and retreated. I put the money on the table…luckily I had exact change. Very strange.
I’m sure doing this lockdown will in the end get control of this virus. All my friends in the US I advise you to self quarantine and limit your contacts with others. Even if there’s no official edict. I’m heartened by the reactions of everyone I know here. We are all in this together. And it will get better if we all work together. 💕

Baci e abbracci my friends…and wash your hands!🙂

Corona Virus 7

New count for Umbria as of yesterday…38 positives.
Last night I watched the news with pictures of empty cities across Italy. Florence, usually chock-a-block with tourists, totally empty streets. Rome and Venice the same. St Marks in Venice … a vast empty space but for the pigeons. Sad. Lonely.
Our Piazza is empty. There is no market today. An unheard of occurrence. Even in the case of a holiday they usually move the market forward a day.

A photo showing people are taking the edict to keep a meter distance between individuals seriously. These three just randomly met in the Piazza.

Today we took a break from our enforced solitude and had lunch with friends at a nearby restaurant, L’Abbazia di Montecorona — named after the virus…kidding! It is just near Umbertide,  at the foot of Montecrona next to the Tiber river so it was within our Comune and legal for us to visit. Lunch is all you can do now since all restaurants are closed after six. It was a gorgeous day. Just like spring. Brilliant cloudless blue skies and temperatures in the 60sF.

Samantha, the proprietor. She said it was un disastro. So many bookings canceled. It’s hard for a restaurant to survive on lunch trade alone.

Look at the size of our table. It felt like we were miles apart. That one meter thing is a “Thing”.

It is a beautiful space in the old Abbey.

I ordered two custard flans in Gorgonzola sauce for my first course.

Outside, you can see the whole complex with the attached church and crypt. The upper church was consecrated in 1105.

The octagonal campanile, it was perhaps adapted from a pre-existing defensive tower in the 14th century.

Stay safe everyone, and…wash your hands! ☺️

Lockdown! Corona virus 6

Well, as they say, this is one fine kettle of fish we are all in! Last night our Prime Minister decreed all of Italy is a Red Zone. So as of this morning we are all locked down.

To put this in perspective. We are restricted to our own Comune, (the locality that governs our neighborhoods near here). We cannot leave unless we have an urgent medical or work reason. And we’d need proof and a certification to leave. We can still go out for a nice walk outside…which is beautiful right now by the way…

But, within our Comune, are plenty of food stores and shops. It is why I love Umbertide. We have all we need here. The stores are all open during the day (except weekends). So we can go grocery shopping…but not together! Only one person per household allowed in the store. And we must always keep at least one meter apart.

The bars and restaurants are open, but only until 6PM. So this means, if you want to eat out you’ll need to do lunch. This will be hard on all bars and restaurants. Essentially this is a curfew starting at 6PM.

The worst thing I’ve heard is that our weekly market is canceled. This is huge. First for the merchants…very hard for them to lose this income. And second for all of us who count on shopping every week…not to mention the socializing that takes place. People come from all around the hills nearby and it’s a big social occasion. I guess this is why it’s cancelled. So sad.

Of course this all too, shall pass. We can get through it and I personally think it is necessary. It will slow and stop the virus. Then life will return to normal.
Stay safe everyone, enjoy this enforced solitude, and WASH YOUR HANDS!!

Corona virus 5

The weekend was good. We went grocery shopping on Saturday, I prepared a Pranzo messicano for our Italian friends and we enjoyed ourselves.

Generally we are staying in our casa in the sky, looking out on the world. But as I’ve said before, we are a real backwater area. Umbria is not on the beaten path to start with, and we are very far north in the region, so not on any transportation routes. Things are pretty much as usual here. We’ve got a couple of upcoming meals out with friends this week. I feel we should be careful but not crazy about it. We will go to our market on Wednesday. I will buy food. I will wash it…and my hands, and try not to touch my face. Only time will tell now this will all shake out in the end.
Horrible news out of Lombardia is that news of the shut down of the area was leaked to the public the night before it went into effect (Saturday). You should have seen the people getting out of town in the night. Half were in their PJs. And all trying to catch the last trains south…where they will spread it to areas that do not have good health care to begin with. Someone said, along the Tuscan coast, the towns look like it’s summertime with crowds of people. Because all the Milanese who fled Milan came and opened up their summer homes. Now, if they’d be responsible and self quarantine…but they are NOT doing that.
So that’s the Corona virus news for today.. be safe, be well, wash your hands!

Corona virus 4

Things are heating up in Italy, as everyone knows. Thanks for the comments and well wishes from all my friends!

Here in Umbria, as of yesterday, we have 24 cases a jump from 16 the day before. The schools are closed until April and all gatherings and events are canceled. This includes weddings, funerals and masses! We went grocery shopping yesterday and all seemed normal. No crazy panic buying. There did seem to be more people than usual but it was Saturday so… and Otherwise the bars are open. Restaurants open. The poor parents are going crazy I’m sure with the kids home.
As for the national news. Italy has formally locked down more than a quarter of its population.

More than 5,800 cases have been confirmed in Italy, after an increase of more than 1,200 in a single 24-hour period. Two hundred and thirty-three people have died.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree enacting forced quarantine for the region of Lombardy – home to more than 10 million people and the financial capital, Milan – and multiple other provinces, totalling around 16 million residents.

Affected provinces include Venice, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, and Treviso.
And on the US front I hear my native Virginia has a case. Washington DC, and Maryland all have cases. As I suspected the strategy of the government was to pretend it wasn’t there. What you don’t know can’t be counted. Therefore it looks like the US is safe. But like a little kid, hiding behind his hand, because if he can’t see it, it isn’t there, the US plan is dangerously flawed.
Strange days for us all. Stay safe everyone!
Stay tuned for updates.

Corona virus 3

We had to visit the big Perugia hospital today. Luther needed some stitches removed. While we were waiting the entire hospital went on lock down. We were in a waiting room but all the internal doors were auto-locked. Turns out there was a hospital wide meeting to explain all the new corona virus protocols to the staff. After 3 hours Luther got his stitches out. I admit, as the waiting room got more and more crowded I got more and more uncomfortable. So I left Luther to wait and I went to the car. I was so glad to get outside in the cold crisp air. I breathed deep. I’m sure it was all in my mind but I couldn’t wait to get out of there!

New notices.
Things change quickly. Today they closed all schools in all of Italy until March 15 at the earliest. All soccer games and sports matches, concerts, conventions, gatherings of any sort are cancelled until further notice.

Other news
On the radio we heard them suggest all elderly people (in the north this means over 65) remain in their homes. Also in the north (in the areas with large outbreaks) they are mandating one meter distance between customers in bars and stores. Also they have a four person limit in stores. So people line up outside keeping one or two meters between each other. And worst of all…no double kissing, hugging, or handshaking. This is darn near impossible for Italians! Un disastro.

Still, life goes on here in Umbria. Now, no gatherings, no school, but here it’s business as usual in Bar Mary downstairs. 🙂

Stay safe.