By Melissa Butz
For the first time since March 10, there was life inside St. Peter’s Square. Italians young and old, walked next to the fountains, which were once the only source of movement, as police cars still circled the area.
“We came because we want to re-begin to live in Rome and this is a great way to start,” explained Sandra, who came to visit the square. “Many museums are still closed, so although it’s sad, we’re taking advantage of this quiet time.”
The calmness of the square and the short line also inspired many Romans to go inside the basilica.”We found ourselves here, where there was hardly anyone,” added fellow visitor Adriana “It was so weird. When we saw we could go inside the basilica, we went in. As a Roman, nothing like this has ever happened.”
“I got to the square and I couldn’t believe how empty it was,” said Antonio, a Rome local. “I pass by the Vatican every day since I live nearby. It’s always been full. But when I saw there was no line to go into the basilica, I had to go inside. Seeing it empty was something else all together.”
“In a certain sense it’s like seeing Rome for the first time,” added fellow resident Eelonora. “I live here, but it’s completely different. Going into the basilica was magical though especially since it was empty.”
While many come to see the basilica, others just pass through. Italians are enjoying small freedoms like these that are returning during phase two of one of the strictest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world.