Letter from Italy: “Hopeful a better human race will emerge (and ‘Nutella Biscuits’)” by Giovanni Arcari.

Yesterday, in its ongoing efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Italian government issued a decree closing all businesses except supermarkets, pharmacies, and health care. The entire country has been under lockdown, with a near total ban on movement, since Tuesday. I’ve asked a number of my friends and colleagues there to share their experiences, feelings, hopes, and fears. Today, I’ve translated a letter from my best friend Giovanni Arcari, a winemaker in Brescia province.

Dear Jeremy,

Here in Brescia, the situation is intense. The hospitals are about to fall apart and the number of infections continues to rise. This is all attributable only to ourselves. We believe we know everything and we have become egotistical beyond measure, so much so that we are convinced that no one can be as intelligent as us. Today, we are facing the unknown and it’s beginning to permeate our consciousness aggressively. It’s something that only unexpected death can manage to create.

We are afraid, depressed, disheartened, and powerless but we still don’t feel like we’ve been defeated. It’s now, in these difficult times, that a team knows what to do, how to wait patiently, and how to console one another even if it’s just by telling some dumb joke about Trump or Salvini (who continue to be the stupidest people in the world, even when facing this crisis).

Wine sales have stopped. Restaurants are closed. And all the payments due will have to be postponed.

I’m still faithful and hopeful that a better human race will emerge from this horrible episode with a desire to educate the world about universal equality.

Just a few notes, man, but that’s all I feel like saying right now. And I kept it simple and free of any rhetorical flourishes.

There’s one positive thing: the supermarkets have been raided but today I was able to buy two bags of “Nutella Biscuits.” It seems that they are excluded from the diets of the recluse, except for mine.



2 thoughts on “Letter from Italy: “Hopeful a better human race will emerge (and ‘Nutella Biscuits’)” by Giovanni Arcari.

  1. The criticism of Trump is unfounded. If Italy had acted decisively in the earliest moments of the spread of the virus, the writer’s philosophical comments wouldn’t have been necessary. Once again the this generation in the US will lead the way to rescue Italy from its political errors, and then we’ll go on buying your wine and envying your lifestyle!

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