ROME — The streets of Rome were deserted the day before Palm Sunday, wiped antiseptically clean by fears of the coronavirus and, even more, of draconian measures instituted by the state to keep citizens confined to their homes.
The following photos were all taken during a one-and-a-half-hour period on Saturday between 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on a warm sunny day at a time of year when tourists and pilgrims would have normally flooded Rome to take advantage of Holy Week festivities and delightful weather.
Instead, Rome is bereft of tourists while citizens cower in their homes for fear of being spotted on the street without a compelling reason to satisfy law enforcement.
The few people one does encounter on the streets have the lower part of their faces hidden behind masks and quickly avert their gazes as if mere eye contact could convey a viral contagion or give cause for a fine and police record.
Now, in week four of the national quarantine, the weight of confinement, combined with severe economic concerns, have brought the people of Rome to their knees.