When the mayor of Roccafiorita received a phone call in October informing him that an employee in his office had tested positive for Covid-19, his heart sank. Set among the forests at the foot of Mount Kalfa, Roccafiorita is the smallest village in southern Italy. The average age of its 187 inhabitants is over 60. If Covid were to spread among the population, the village could disappear. “When the phone rang, it was like lightning on a sunny day”, said Concetto Orlando, the mayor. “With this second wave on its way, for a second I thought that we might actually be wiped off the map.” Last week, the Italian government introduced a semi-lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus, after an average of over 30,000 new cases a day. Most attention has been directed towards large cities like Milan and Naples, but across the country thousands of small villages are fighting to stay alive. Of Italy’s 8,000 villages, towns and cities, almost 70% have fewer than 5,000 inhabitants. Two thousand have fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, and in some places the birth of a baby is so rare that the village bells toll to celebrate the news. Dozens of these villages… Read full this story
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