ROME — It started with the national anthem. Then came the piano chords, trumpet blasts, violin serenades and even the clanging of pots and pans — all of it spilling from people’s homes, out of windows and from balconies, and rippling across rooftops.
Finally, on Saturday afternoon, a nationwide round of applause broke out for the doctors on the medical front lines fighting the spread of Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
“It was from our hearts, to say thanks and show that we can get past this,” said Emma Santachiara, 73, who came out onto the terrace of her apartment in the Monteverde section of Rome to clap with her granddaughters.
Italians remain essentially under house arrest as the nation, the European front in the global fight against the coronavirus, has ordered extraordinary restrictions on their movement to prevent contagions.
As of Saturday, the virus had infected more than 21,000 Italians and left more than 1,400 dead, according to national officials — the worst toll reported anywhere outside of China. Italy has closed all of its schools, bars and restaurants, and restricted movement for anything other than work, health or the procurement of essentials.
But the cacophony erupting over the streets, from people stuck in their homes, reflects the spirit, resilience and humor of a nation facing its worst national emergency since the Second World War.
Credit…Alessandro Grassani for The New York Times