The shops reopen and awaken the city after the Coronavirus nightmare


The clock says eighteen on May eighteen, the air is already that of a late summer afternoon and here, on the Sentierone in the heart of Bergamo Bassa, it is a historic day.
Today, in fact, most of the commercial activities have reopened throughout the peninsula.

Bars, restaurants, hairdressers and retail stores.
The lights inside the shops had not been on for three long months. “We are willing to do anything to leave again” – someone shyly says to the colleague from the opposite side of the sidewalk – “It will be difficult but we could not miss the reopening” – he replies.

There are many voices, walking under the Quadrilateral is the best way to understand them all.
“We were able to look to the future while the others weren’t able to do it, we have experienced a great social and economic change, we are the shops, those that have resisted large-scale distribution, franchising”.

And if you try to ask if it is a matter of living or surviving there is no room for discussion because the spokesman on duty, rushing out of his shop, burst out: “Our role is fundamental for a scalable city system in the future. L’neighborhood activities, being neighborhood psychologists, sincere advice, quality of service, sociability within our spaces … It is priceless and free stuff“.

Everyone has adapted, if you try to see or decipher the shadows behind the windows what you catch is order, composure and a warmth that now seemed increasingly distant. And then walk, turn your head to greet, keep a receipt. It seems an extraordinary suspended dimension. Similar, as we imagine it, to a return from space.
In the meantime, nineteen and with the passing of the hours we are in Corsarola, in the heart of the High City.



“Someone here does not want or cannot reopen, we reinvented ourselves with takeaway but people still seem to be too afraid. They don’t even come to do their hair, they are few compared to what I expected. “

Here few people listen to their own footsteps, but there is no lack of the noises of all those activities that have also reopened here.
“Do you know what I tell you? That the nice part of my job is standing in the doorway, watching the world go by. There are people who go back and forth all day. Those are my customers, even if they never buy a fruit. “
And so we are back on track with those who reopened, with those who did it but did not want to do it, with the toy maker, with the subversive shopkeeper, with the discouraged bartender, with the hairdresser …



What is happening in the last few days brings us to reflect about what it is essential, and in particular on two primary and indispensable factors for our coexistence: health and food supply. But also on how much life, let’s face it, is not anyone’s fault and, therefore, of how the shops are part of that very useful puzzle to live, yes.
But tremendously well.

Photography by Marco Rossoni, Nicolò Impallomeni, Lorenzo Polimeno
With the technical support of Lorenzo Polimeno
Texts and creative direction of Luca Andreini



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