How you can help Italy during the Coronavirus lockdown

How you can help Italy during the Coronavirus lockdown

How you can help Italy during the Coronavirus lockdown

People in the United States are waking up to the news about a containment zone in New York State. I know how you feel. Here in Italy, we are weeks ahead of you. Just last week Rome was very quiet but the thinking was if you can come visit, please do. Things changed quickly.

On Saturday I flew to London for a travel conference. I see now in retrospect that I was cavalier about how serious this virus and its knock-on effects were. I woke up in the middle of the night to the news about severe restrictions in Lombardy and the Veneto. It soon progressed into the declaration of a complete nationwide lockdown. On Facebook the other day I talked about how we like to make fun of Italy and the general chaos of everyday life here but make no mistake, when it comes to a crisis you want the Italians making the plan. Italy has been extremely organized in its response.

My time in London had a surreal quality. My pal Agnes put it best. I too felt like I was a few episodes ahead on a television show wanting to shout at everyone to stand a meter apart and to stop touching everything. I canceled my meetings and got one of the very last flights from London to Rome.

When I landed, Fiumicino airport and Termini train station were almost empty. My street which is normally very busy and full of people in wine bars and restaurants was shuttered and silent at 9pm on Tuesday evening. Mark is teleworking from the guest room. We have all been asked to stay at home only leaving (alone) to grocery shop or take walks. We must keep at least a meter away from each other and everything shuts at 6pm. This article explains why doing this is so important in containing the effects of the virus.

Your plans have probably been dramatically altered too but 
while we wait, there is plenty that you can do to help Italy during the Coronovirus lockdown. 

How you can help Italy during the Coronavirus lockdown

How you can help Italy during the Coronovirus lockdown

On Instagram, I will be regularly sharing businesses and services that are open and operating in Rome.

Here on my blog, I will share resources and ways you can help businesses all over Italy.

People to follow for daily, on the ground updates


Mountain Butorac, the Catholic Traveler

Elyssa Bernard, Romewise

Agnes Crawford, Understanding Rome

Abbie Stark, Devour Tours

Jennie Oh, Jennie Oh Crafts, Sustainable contemporary studio ceramics 


Georgette Jupe, Girl in Florence

Tracy Russo, Dolce Vida Photography


Venice by Bridge

Inside Venice

Tours to Take in Rome, Florence, and Venice

Tour guides have lost months of business. If you can, plan a trip to Italy and book a tour.

Cassandra at Travel Italian Style can help you plan an itinerary.

Walks of Italy is booking tours from April 4  is offering online tours of the world's most famous sites.

Devour Rome is taking bookings from April 6 has online experiences and a cookbook.

Plan ahead and book a week in Naples with Culinary Backstreets for October. Use the code gillianslists for a discount.

Artist Kelly Medford gives sketching tours in Rome

Molly McIlwrath offers custom family tours and workshops in and near Florence

Explore Florence (or Rome or Venice with art historian Alexandra Lawrence

In Venice take a cichetti tour or a cooking class with Monica Cesarato

Explore the Venetian lagoon in your own electric boat rented from Classic Boats Venice

Cook in Capri with Holly and Gianluca with their new interactive cookbook and a bottle of Caprese wine.

Private tours with Clam Tours

Italian businesses and artisans who offer online shopping

If you can not travel you can shop!

Order coffee from Sant’Eustachio

Stock your Italian pantry with pasta from Gustiamo and wine and tomatoes from Ristorante Michel’Angelo

Add some Ponzese sparkle to your life with a piece from Cala Corallo

Cook Italian with books from my good pals Elizabeth Minchilli (her daughter has a book coming out soon too!) Valeria Neccio  (her daily updates from the hard-hit Veneto are thoughtful and important viewing) and Maria Pasquale. Carla Tomasi is sharing what she cooks and bakes on Instagram 

Artisans in Venice

Venice has been hit particularly hard, first with the severe damage after the November Acqua Grande and now the Coronavirus Italy travel restrictions. These are artisans I personally know and whose I work I have bought. This is just the start. Check out the lists compiled by Dream of Venice and Natural Epicurean for more.

Pieces of Venice - Handcrafted items made from recycled bricole from the Venetian Lagoon

PlumPlum Creations - Prints and etchings

Eredi Jovon - Handcrafted cameos

Alessia Fuga - Handblown glass beads and jewelry

Paper Owl - Intricate paper jewelry and gifts

Thank you for all of your sweet messages of solidarity and concern. 
In the meantime, I am #iorestoacasa (staying at home following the Italian government's instructions) but the sun is shining, my pantry is full of pasta and passata and I have plenty of Campari for negronis. I look forward to keeping connected here in the virtual world and hopefully very soon, in person, here in Rome

How you can help Italy during the Coronavirus lockdown

How you can help Italy during the Coronavirus lockdown

How you can help Italy during the Coronavirus lockdown


  1. We will be saluting you with a negroni from afar Gillian. Take care

  2. Thanks Gillian, i've only just seen this! Glad to have made it onto one of your lists : )


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