Roman Quarantine – Day 28

Roman Quarantine – Day 28

Tweet Today is the twenty-eighth day of the Roman quarantine. Exactly four weeks have passed since the extraordinary announcement of the shutdown. When I started writing these posts we here in Italy were in an anomalous situation. Now most of you are in a very similar...
Roman Quarantine – Day 27

Roman Quarantine – Day 27

Tweet This morning I woke to the sounds of bells ringing for Palm Sunday, announcing a mass no one would go to. In accordance with the measures currently in place in Italy to contain the spread of COVID-19 – measures fully supported by the Pope who is, I think we can...
Roman Quarantine – Day 26

Roman Quarantine – Day 26

Tweet The sun shone, and I sat on our newly pristine terrace and reread The Secret History (Donna Tartt, not Procopius) because a) I love it though I probably haven’t read it since I arrived in Rome, and b) I can’t concentrate on anything more worthy at the moment....
Roman Quarantine – Day 25

Roman Quarantine – Day 25

Tweet Back in the distant haze of early March, today was the date given as the end of the emergency shutdown, but of course we’re nowhere near the end. At present, current measures – leaving the house only for necessity (food shopping, taking out rubbish, medical...
Roman Quarantine – Day 24

Roman Quarantine – Day 24

Tweet palimpsest, n. and a.(ˈpælɪmpsɛst) [ad. L. palimpsēstus n., a. Gr. παλίµψηστος scraped again, παλίµψηστον a parchment whence writing has been erased, f. πάλιν again + ψηστός, from ψάω, ψῆν to rub smooth.] Oxford English Dictionary...
Roman Quarantine – Day 22

Roman Quarantine – Day 22

Tweet I took the bins out today. My first foray to street level in six days. I’ve started dreaming of long walks in Rome’s abundant and excellent parks. What Martial called, when speaking of the house of Sparsus (not without envy), rus in urbe. Literally the “country...
Roman Quarantine – Day 21

Roman Quarantine – Day 21

Tweet Three weeks have passed since the evening when, while making pasta e fagioli, the initial lockdown (subsequently further tightened to close all non-essential shops and services, and to limit all shopping and exercise to the immediate vicinity) was announced. I...
Roman Quarantine – Day 20

Roman Quarantine – Day 20

Tweet Today is the third Sunday of the Roman Quarantine. And because it’s Sunday we had lunch. After all standards need to be maintained, and though this all feels like punishment we haven’t in fact been bad. So, following the Instagram example of my pal Hande, we...
Roman Quarantine – Day 19

Roman Quarantine – Day 19

Tweet In the distant world of Day 7 of the Quarantine, I wrote of the papal pilgrimage which saw Pope Francis visit two churches with particular connections to historic banishments of plague. Yesterday evening at 6pm Rome time he once again sought to appeal to the...
Roman Quarantine – Day 18

Roman Quarantine – Day 18

Tweet Today was, once again, a dreary and grey day of drizzle in Rome, and I stayed inside working on a translation I was asked to do by a loyal and appreciative client from the wonderfully named Department of Sciences of Antiquity at Rome’s oldest university, La...
Roman Quarantine – Day 17

Roman Quarantine – Day 17

Tweet Welcome to Day 17 of the Roman Quarantine. In case you’re wondering how things are they are a) fine, but also b) I just had to look up what day we’re on. So that perhaps is the best indication. Today was a drizzly grey sort of day (which I don’t mind at all, as...
Roman Quarantine – Day 16

Roman Quarantine – Day 16

Tweet Yesterday was the anniversary of one of the grimmest moments during the Second World War in Rome. On 23 March 1944, during the Nazi occupation of the city, partisans in the city exploded a bomb at via Rasella, opposite the entrance to Palazzo Barberini (it is...
Roman Quarantine – Day 15

Roman Quarantine – Day 15

Tweet On the 1st March my husband and I went to Palazzo Corsini to see the Rembrandt self-portrait on loan from the Rijksmuseum. In those distant and halcyon days of three weeks ago, there were merely initial cautions about not getting too close to anyone else, and...
Roman Quarantine – Day 14

Roman Quarantine – Day 14

Tweet This morning I woke with a sinking feeling in my stomach. To be honest I have done most days since the enormity of this whole thing became apparent. I expect most of us have. In my case it doesn’t usually last long, but there is undoubtedly a momentary lurch of...
Roman Quarantine – Day 13

Roman Quarantine – Day 13

Tweet Today is Sunday—the second of the quarantine—and, as I mentioned last week, on Sundays we have lunch. I love cooking and am passably competent. A significant part of my Instagram account is now food: sadly the blossom is blooming amid the glorious ruins of a...
Roman Quarantine – Day 12

Roman Quarantine – Day 12

Tweet Words can’t quite express how glad I am I spent the couple of weeks before the closure of museums and the subsequent lockdown (but while I was already effectively unemployed following US travel restrictions) wandering Rome’s museums and streets in splendid...
Roman Quarantine – Day 11

Roman Quarantine – Day 11

Tweet I’ve just realised it’s Friday. Who knew? Days have taken on an amorphous form, with an entirely unequal distribution of hours. Which, were it not for the underlying and palpable general anxiety, would not be unpleasant. I quite like the sensation of no...
Roman Quarantine – Day 10

Roman Quarantine – Day 10

Tweet I spent today continuing to sort out our overgrown and neglected terrace. The potted lemon tree needed some heavy-duty pruning, and then I wiped down the leaves of the poor thing one by one with warm soapy water to get rid of the horrid black bug gunk they’re...
Roman Quarantine – Day 9

Roman Quarantine – Day 9

Tweet Botanical Gardens, Rome. 28 February 2020. Three weeks ago (really, only three weeks?), and before this situation became a national emergency but after I’d already had all my work cancelled for what then then seemed like only a month, I went for a walk around...
Roman Quarantine – Day 8

Roman Quarantine – Day 8

Tweet I haven’t been at street level since Saturday (definitely going out for a short walk tomorrow) and yet somehow at least at the moment time doesn’t drag at all. This morning I finally after months, maybe a year?, set to the crazy wildly overgrown terrace. One of...
Roman Quarantine – Day 7

Roman Quarantine – Day 7

Tweet Yesterday, the day after it was announced that Easter services in the Vatican would take place without a congregation this year, the Pope left the walls of the Vatican and visited two churches to pray for an end to this pandemic. The first was Santa Maria...
Roman Quarantine – Day 6

Roman Quarantine – Day 6

Tweet Something very odd indeed has happened to time this week, but the calendar tells us that today is Sunday. And on Sunday we have lunch. So we had Sunday lockdown lunch with relatives di adozione, se non di sangue one might say in Italian, which somehow doesn’t...
Roman Quarantine – Day 5

Roman Quarantine – Day 5

Tweet According to this week’s governmental decrees, solo open-air physical exercise is permitted as long as a minimum distance of one metre is maintained from anyone else. The quarantine situation is not going to change anytime soon–fingers crossed, but the end date...
Roman Quarantine – Day 4

Roman Quarantine – Day 4

Tweet When leaving the house we’re supposed to take a form justifying the journey (local shopping, unavoidable work commitments within the limited permissible range, health reasons, physical outdoor exercise), and now Rome’s parks have been closed too, to avoid...
Roman Quarantine – Day 3

Roman Quarantine – Day 3

Tweet Tiresome admin today, no trotting around parks to the genuinely uplifting sounds of 90s country (My favourite is Dolly, top trotting track is currently: “Why do you come in here looking like that?”. I really–seriously, unironically–adore Dolly Parton. Try it,...
Roman Quarantine – Day 1

Roman Quarantine – Day 1

Tweet The Vatican Museums entrance. 3rd March, 2020. Usually visited by an average of 25,000 people a day Last night, as I was making pasta e fagioli, I happened to hear the live-stream broadcast from the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte. He announced that Italy...