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Bulgarian Aneta Rinaldi from Rome

The stringent measures imposed under the state of emergency in most European countries to check the spread of the coronavirus have foiled the plans of hundreds of Bulgarians who will not be able to come home for Easter. People are taking the appeal not to travel from Italy to Bulgaria very hard, but also with the understanding that the measures must be complied with.

For Aneta Rinaldi, who has been living in Rome for 30 years, this is a period of hardships, as she will be unable to visit with her elderly parents in Sofia. Aneta is constantly following and analyzing what is happening in Rome, but also in Sofia. She first turned her attention to the sphere of the arts and culture, because that is her professional calling – she works as a designer for architectural studios and national TV. Aneta is proud of her work as art director of the so-called Bulgarian gallery in Rome, where she has been dedicating her efforts to exhibiting and popularizing Bulgarian art. The gallery is now closed and we shall certainly go bankrupt, and the only thing that will be left will be the contribution we have made to culture, says Aneta Rinaldi:

If we turn to history we shall see there have been other times of disaster connected with disease, war, plague, which have given an incredible impetus to culture. This goes to show humans have an inner need to turn to something they believe in. Pope Francis called on the Italian people to have no fear, but to do everything that is required of us. To be disciplined and to believe there is meaning in the existence of humanity. That is where the power of culture lies, in the rise of spiritual leaders and in standing united in our efforts to build a better future. I would like to share my own, personal observations of society through the years - and I have also worked for Radio Vatican for many years – that the Italians, even when they say they are not practicing Christians, have been brought up with the religious norms and values, and they are universal, tested through the ages. What astounds me in the Italians, and I am seeing the same thing in Bulgaria, is this enormous desire to communicate, for solidarity, for elevating the spirit through music and song. But do you know what is behind all of these things happening in Italy? They are an expression of patriotis, and their well-known sense of solidarity. And here we again come to the role of religion which teaches us how to be compassionate. People in Italy have started talking of “the new poor”, people we had never expected to fall in this category, such as lawyers fresh out of university, which is paradoxical, students who have just graduated and who will not have an opportunity to make a professional start because of the bankruptcies resulting from this storm. We shall then be faced with a real financial situation, but Italian society is ready to help each and every one get back on their feet once the crisis is over.

The attention of society in Italy is now focused on the doctors, a great many of whom are infected, and more than 60 have died. There are many volunteers helping ambulances and the Red Cross.

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