It's only now that we understand the value of a simple handshake. The Covid-19 emergency and the subsequent lockdown have changed – and in some ways still oblige us to change – the way we conduct our family and social relationships.

For months it hasn't been possible to meet and hug a friend, a parent, often even a partner, and we haven't even had the consolation of being able to plan the next time we meet. Cancelled flights, closed borders or simply the fear of passing on the virus have all prevented us from fully enjoying our relationships with the people we love.

A restriction that for some is very painful, particularly in a country like Italy, where physical contact is a key aspect of social interaction.

From within the solitude of our homes, we've looked to fill this void using technology. Video calls became the way to be together, to share the day's events or the moods we were feeling during those days.

But that’s not all. In a historic period during which we felt disconnected from ourselves to the point at which the concept of mindfulness became more than just a way for some to try and make money, forced isolation obliged us to look at ourselves more deeply, to face our doubts, our fears and our dreams. In other words, to sign up for (forcibly, but for free at least) a course in mindfulness that was much longer and more intense than those which, up until just before, many were prepared to pay for.

A surfer zips up his wetsuit before heading out into the water at Viareggio, near Lucca. Individual outdoor sport is one of the few activities allowed under the emergency lockdown decrees.

Teatro Colosseo (the Colosseum Theatre), Turin. Actor and director Gabriele Vacis during a pause in the stage performance of Alessandro D'Avenia’s book “L'appello” (The Appeal).

A guest of Ghanaian origin at the Galgario homeless shelter situated inside a renovated former convent in Bergamo.

A woman sits on a wall overlooking the sea at Sperlonga, near Latina.

Naples, San Paolo stadium. After the vigil for Maradona's death, people continue to go to the stadium to pay tribute to the champion. Families and fans gather outside carrying flowers, candles or gadgets related to the “Napoli” club's history.

A young man walks alone at dusk along the so-called Muraglione, the sea wall at the port entrance in Viareggio, near Lucca.

The Real Bosco of Capodimonte, one of Naples' few green lungs, remained closed to the public on weekends during the lockdown in order to limit the infection rate. Access was allowed to runners between 7 and 9 a.m.

People in Naples are in lockdown at home in order to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. Lots of residents go up to the apartment buildings’ terraces looking for an outdoor space. A man stands on a terrace of the Yellow Sail in Scampia, which was used as a set for the movie “Gomorra” by Roberto Saviano.

A young man of Bosnian origin in his living module inside the shanty town at Castel Romano, on the coast near Rome.

Milan, San Raffaele Hospital. Model Anne Christensen a few hours before giving birth to a baby daughter, Audrey.

Giorgia, 23, fashion copywriter and Marco, 25, a web designer. They share an apartment with another couple, who have suffered greatly during the lockdown. Giorgia and Marco, on the contrary, say they have found a new harmony thanks to a sense of suspended time.

Ana Milena Guazaquillo, Nancy Briones, Liliana Llano and Hilda González are nuns in the order of the Missionary Servants of the Divine Spirit. Every afternoon at five o’clock they bring spiritual comfort to the town of Positano, in Campania. They do so by reciting the rosary with the help of a megaphone from a rooftop overlooking the community. During the lockdown, the nuns have also organised live broadcasts on Facebook and video calls for the lonely and the sick.

Bergamo, the Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Covid-19 patients in the ER, which has been converted into a Coronavirus patient ward in order to cope with the huge number of patients during the peak days of the epidemic.

Rome, 3 April 2020. At dusk, Manik returns home with a supply of water for the family.

Loved ones, family, friends (like Serena, a photographer from Rome), strangers. Projected life-size, during a video call, on the sofa at home. A way to get closer in the distance and relieve the sense of loneliness.

Giovanni Maglione, a nurse at the hospital in Polla (near Salerno), is waiting for his wife to arrive so they can say hello and exchange a few words, at a distance.

Bologna, April 2020. Danilo, a 31-year-old photographer who was confined to his house of just 50 square metres for two months, felt the effects of the limitations that the lockdown placed on his work. He developed, almost without realising it, a strong focus on and a new-found interest in the domestic space, which became a source of creative inspiration.

During the lockdown, the Milanese have discovered a city they had never seen before: silent, deserted and ghostly.

Bergamo, the Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Covid-19 patients in the ER, which has been converted into a Coronavirus patient ward in order to cope with the huge number of patients during the peak days of the epidemic.

Blello, near Bergamo, is one of the so-called “zero Covid” villages, where not a single case of infection has been recorded. Mayor Luigi Mazzucottelli stands on the recently completed helipad just outside the town.

At the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, a midwife takes as break at dawn after working through the night.

Niccolò, who’s obliged to stay at home with his parents in lockdown, playing in his room. This alternates with boredom and melancholy.

Davide, 20, was in New York when the lockdown started in Italy. When New York also went into lockdown, Davide flew to Los Angeles, where he has a holiday home. When the virus reached the West Coast as well, he was stuck in the house alone. His salvation was the music he writes and sings. After many cancelled flights, he finally managed to get back to Milan.

Rome, the Appio Latino neighbourhood. A woman at the end of a yoga session.

Cinisello Balsamo (Milan). Irene Barrientos in the bedroom of her home which she shares with her husband and four children. The apartment was provided by the Fondazione Progetto Arca. Both parents lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 emergency and for this reason they regularly receive food parcels.

During spring the bay of Positano is usually crowded with yachts and boats of all kinds. Not this year.

Milan, second-stage accommodation run by the charity CAST (Centro Assistenza Sociale Territoriale). Three guests (from left to right, Sana Fofana, Samani Bangura and Gaetano Lanciano) have all been prevented from working by the Covid-19 emergency.

Genoa. Nurse Giulia Bellantonio with a newly arrived Covid-19 patient on board the MV Splendid, which has been converted into a hospital.

Milan. Alessandro Caprio, an employee at a large Italian company, works from home during the Coronavirus.

Milan. Contract teacher Elsa Radaelli has been unable to work or earn a salary since the beginning of the lockdown and the closure of the schools. Elsa lives with another contract teacher, Noemi Ventura, in an apartment provided by the Fondazione Progetto Arca, which also supplies them with food parcels.

Niccolò, who’s obliged to stay at home with his parents in lockdown, makes sure that there is candy in the groceries that his mother had delivered at home in order to avoid the risk of infection.

On 18 March, the Winter Garden, a four-star hotel just a stone’s throw from Bergamo airport, made its facilities available to Covid-19 patients who have been discharged from hospital, but who still tested positive. They need to wait before going home so as to be absolutely certain of not posing a threat to their families. Patients are waiting here for the results of the swabs.

Genoa. A patient on board MV Splendid, which has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital.

Albaredo per San Marco, near Sondrio, is one of the so-called “zero Covid” villages, where not a single case of infection has been recorded. Resident Caterina Esterina Del Nero, aged 93, leaves the church of San Rocco.

Milan. An isolated passenger at the city’s Linate airport, which is virtually empty in the time of the Coronavirus.

Rosario Muro, commander of the local police in Giffoni Valle Piana (near Salerno), in the house where he has lived in self-isolation since the beginning of the Covid crisis.

Daniele Graziano, head nurse at the ER of the hospital in Polla (near Salerno), eats dinner alone in his temporary accommodation. 4 May was his 17th wedding anniversary. He hasn’t seen his family in two months.

Trespiano municipal cemetery, in the province of Florence. During lockdown, just two or three family members could attend the burial of their relative. A priest at the cemetery receives the hearse for a quick blessing.

Milan. A woman walks along the Naviglio Grande: known as a bustling and noisy venue for early evening drinks, it has fallen silent during the Coronavirus emergency.

At the Buzzi Hospital in Milan, mother-to-be Serena Minischetti takes the lift to go and give birth.

Bergamo, a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit of the Giovanni XXIII Hospital, at a time when the number of new patients put the facility's ability to respond under serious strain.

Gerola Alta, near Sondrio, is one of the so-called “zero Covid” villages, where not a single case of infection has been recorded.

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