My Venetian Quarantine

Here are the words of a lovely young wife and mother, managing as best she can during this Quarantine period in the beautiful city of Venice……….these are the words of Giulia Andreola.

To begin with, I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect from this period. Everything happened so quickly and suddenly that I wasn’t really prepared to be locked down with my whole family at home: me, my husband, our daughter Bianca and our cat Mici. Before corona, I was a full time working mum and, as many Venetian do due to the lack of job offer in the city centre, I used to go everyday 70km far to the mainland by train to work and then back home. We had a full time baby sitter, kindergarden helped us daily and we could enjoy our city, Venice, only during weekends. 

So, lockdown, I believe this is day 9. Apart from the necessity to go shopping for food, we’re always at home, no dogs to stroll out, no strolls at all and no jogging whatsoever, we respect the given rules. Our rhythms changed drastically. We used to go to bed at 9:30/10:00 PM before, because of baby Bianca and because of our jobs. The alarm rang at 6:20 AM, we got ready and then went to work. Now we wake up around 9:00/9:30 AM, we have breakfast together and we take our time to call our parents through facetime or whatsapp. After this, the day is all to invent. Generally until 11:30 AM we try to work, so if one of us is working the other takes care of Bianca. Every morning we planned 1 activity for her: might be salt dough, painting, colouring or dancing. 100% percent of time it is super messy, so we have to spend some time afterwards to make the space tidy again, but this is actually very cool too because she LOVES TO CLEAN, she’s almost obsessive. Every time she sees a tissue or even a piece of paper she has to use it and pass it over some furniture. 

Then my husband and I are very much sticked to traditions. So, before lunch, we have to take our aperitivo. Tecnically, we should take it outside in a traditional venetian bacaro. But even if we could go out, everything would be closed now so we had to improvise. As first thing, we organised ourselves and bought some aperol, white wine (prosecco for me tbh) and sparkling water. Then, we examined our options for the location (which basically were the kitchen or the dining room) and luckily enough we realized we have a wonderful altana on the roof top that even if it has quite steep stairs to get to, it could be perfect for our aperitivi (we forget about it during winter). So now around noon we go upstairs taking with us our spritz and Bianca, and we stay there for some 30 minutes just enjoying the breathtaking view over Cannaregio, this incredible and warm sun (which is a real gift because this  could have been a real disaster if it was also raining outside) and our company. The three of us, the seagulls flying all around our heads and the silence, just some bells can be heard in a distance… but sometimes some of our neighbours play some jazz music so it might get very entertaining as well. 

After our 30 minutes of fresh air we get back to the house and prepare a quick bite, majority of time it is pasta with whatever, so even Bianca can have it together with us and we do not have to argue. While we cook Bianca pretends to do the same and takes out all the pans and pots we have and put inside them some potatoes or garlic or onions… whatever she manages to catch from the freshness-saving drawer. And she stays there playing quietly. Then we have lunch and after that, it is time for “nanna”, Bianca’s afternoon nap. We use that time to catch up with the work we didn’t have time to do during the morning, read, watch some tv or just relax. 
When Bianca wakes up it is time for her afternoon snack. Then we dedicate our time to just 3 things: cooking (so far we made some banana bread, pancakes, potatoes puree and meatballs, Sunday’s evening pizza, pan fried salmon and chicken stew). For tonight I am thinking about some tasty appetizers with fresh ricotta and bresaola and some traditional romanian beans patè to have some bruschette… we will see!

Ok, anyway, apart from cooking, we also like to spend the time playing with her toys in her room, for instance, if she’s inspired, she prepares great invisible-teatimes with a lot of puppets and, of course, Mici is kindly invited to participate. The last thing we do is watching telly. Her favourite program? Of course, Teletubbies. Don’t know why, she seems not to be interested in any other thing, so we let her watch it for a little, Lala the yellow one, is her favourite. Of course sometimes we skip it for the sake of a much needed bath. Another super messy activity she loves. Finally, before dinner we go downstairs where we have a little “corte” – AKA backyard. Not as impressive as the ‘altana’ but it is less chilly and Bianca can run around freely and dance a little more. Also, it is full of brooms there which is pretty much like a paradise for her, she generally tries to hold 2 or 3 of them and starts running around screaming. For us it is a pleasure because she enjoys it but also for ourselves, it allows us to change a little bit the place and breathe.  

And at last, time for some more food and then relax in front of TV for the parents and some warm milk for the baby. Then bed, sleep, repeat. 
Might sound tedious and exhausting, also because we have no idea for how long this will last, but to be honest I am quite sure that after this bad period will end, we’ll surely miss this occasion of incredible togetherness and time for ourselves.

A typical day in Venice - queuing to get into the supermarket. Social distancing being observed.
A typical day in Venice – queuing to get into the supermarket. Social distancing being observed.

What wonderful words from Giulia describing her typical day at home with her husband and small daughter. The Quarantine makes us all appreciate every moment. Here is a view over the roof tops of Venice in this strange March moment of 2020. Wishing Giulia and her family and all Venetians support and kindness at this challenging time.

Video – by Giulia Andreola from the ‘altana’ roof terrace.

With special thanks to Giulia for taking the time to share this detail and personal experience with us.

27th March 2020

One thought on “My Venetian Quarantine

  1. Thank you Giulia – and thank you Janet – for sharing with your readers, such a personal, evocative and really interesting insight. Even though Giulia is so many hundreds of miles away from us, and in such a unique and different place, it is reassuring and interesting to read how familes are the same the world over. Apart from the skyline tour of Venice (which I admit does hardly match a skyline tour of the Yorkshire Dales!), the routine under lock-down and the effect on the Andreolas’ everyday lifeis not that different from our English Family; so stay safe, Giulia and Bianca, and enjoy your now even closer family life together!

    Liked by 1 person

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